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Sansad TV: Perspective- Regulations for Dedicated Freight Corridor

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Introduction:

With over 80% of the dedicated freight corridor running parallel to passenger lines, a parliamentary panel has raised concerns over the lack of safety rules for the goods-only network. The Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, in its 323rd report, points out that while rules and regulations are defined for passenger trains, no such regulation exists for the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited or goods trains. The report states that the Commission of Railway Safety pointed out many instances where rules were amended by the Ministry of Railways without consulting the commission, even when provisions to such consultations exist. The Commission of Railway Safety falls under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and deals with matters pertaining to safety of rail travel and train operations. The panel recommended that to ensure impartial working of the Commission of Railway Safety, it was essential that it worked outside the control of both the ministries of Railways and Civil Aviation. It also suggested that the Railways should avoid unilateral changes in rules, codes and manuals which affect railway safety without consulting the CRS.

Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC):

  • Dedicated freight corridor (DFC), as the name suggests, is meant to create a safe and efficient freight transportation system in the country.
  • It is ahigh speed and high capacity railway corridor that is exclusively meant for the transportation of freight, or in other words, goods and commodities.
  • DFC involves the seamless integration of better infrastructureand state of the art technology.

Need of DFCs and its analysis part:

  • Indian Railways have taken a number of initiatives/steps to make the freight rates competitive which include, liberalized automatic freight rebate policy in empty flow directions, discount granted on loading of bagged consignment in open and flat wagons, 40% discount in freight to fly-ash traffic, station to station rate, round trip based charging for container, round trip traffic, 5% concession on haulage charge on loaded containers, 25% concession on transportation of empty containers and flat wagons, for expansion of container freight basket large number of commodities have been de-notified, etc.
  • Currently, freight trains do not get priority over passenger trains. Once completed, at least 70% of the freight trains will be transferred on the DFCCIL network which will help in timely movement of cargo. Also, this may lead to the introduction of more passenger trains in future.
  • E-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart will be able to transfer freight through railways once the dedicated freight corridor project is complete. Apart from e-commerce, the freight corridor project will also open up doors for the automobile sector
  • Private containers will also be allowed to use the freight corridor but they have to pay track usage charges.
  • Increased burden:Covering a total of 10,122 km, these corridors carry the heaviest traffic and are highly congested. The route carries 52% of passenger traffic and 58% of freight traffic, according to the Make-in-India report of 2017. Also, these routes are highly saturated, with line capacity utilisation reaching as high as 150%.
  • Rise in demand:Considering increased transport demands, overtly congested routes and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with road transport, these freight corridors will help reduce the cost and allow faster transportation.
  • Revenue generation:They will open new avenues for investment, as this will lead to the construction of industrial corridors and logistic parks along these routes.
  • It is environmentally friendly.
  • Helps in generating more employment.

Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC):

  • Starts at Sahnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal.
  • The EDFC route has coal mines, thermal power plants and industrial cities.
  • The EDFC route covers Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal
  • It is being funded majorly by the World Bank.
  • The 351-km-long ‘New Bhaupur-New Khurja section’ will decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi main line and double the speed of freight trains from 25 kmph to 75 kmph.

Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC):

  • It is around 1,500-km WDFC from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai, touching all major ports along the way.
  • It covers Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
  • The Connecting Link for Eastern and Western Arm: It is under construction between Dadri and Khurja.

The salient features of DFC are as under:

  • Maximum permissible Speed – 100Kmph
  • Long haul and Higher Trailing load – upto 13000 tonnes per train
  • Double stack trains on WDFC
  • Efficient handling and value added services at freight terminals of DFC.
  • Enhanced axle load of 25 tonnes
  • Higher maximum moving dimension of Wagons
  • Automatic Signalling with Mobile Train Radio communication
  • Overall enhanced throughput