The railways’ ambitious move to execute the pending projects on a cost-sharing basis with the states is yet to bear desired results in many states, including Bihar where certain projects are hanging fire because of resource crunch.
According to a Railway Board official, Jharkhand and Karnataka have positively responded to the railways’ initiative. While the Jharkhand government has agreed to share 50% of the estimated cost of the railway projects, Karnataka is spending about Rs 2,500 crore on the railway projects, he said and added Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments were also funding the railway projects in their states.
“Railway projects worth over Rs 35,000 crore were allotted by the railway ministry to Bihar over the recent few years. However, some of them could not take off due to resource crunch,” said the official.
These projects include a diesel locomotive factory at Marhaura (Rs 2,025 crore), an electric locomotive factory at Madhepura (Rs 1,400 crore), a goods wagon repair workshop at Sonepur (Rs 92 crore) and a wagon repair workshop at Samastipur (Rs 33 crore). Of these, only the electric locomotive project at Madhepura is being executed on the public-private partnership basis, the official said.
The Bihar government is sharing with the railways the cost of building road over bridges at different places in the state. The state government has also agreed in principle to help the railways develop the infrastructure for the fast corridor project between Patna and New Delhi.
The railways is currently running mail and express trains at 90kmph on the Jhajha-Patna-Mughalsarai route. It is likely to increase the speed limit up to 130kmph on this route, sources said and added the tracks all along the route were being strengthened for the purpose.
Sources said the increase in the speed limit on the route would reduce the journey hours by at least 30 to 40 minutes between Patna and New Delhi on trains like Rajdhani Express. The tracks between Mughalsarai and New Delhi are already fit to run Rajdhani Express at 130kmph, the sources said.