India seeks Japanese assistance for DFC project

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (UNI) The Railway Ministry today said it had decided to seek financial assistance from Japan for the Rs 28,000 crore Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project that would allow freight trains to move at a speed of 100 km per hour from the existing 25-30 km.

''Only today we have sent a letter to the Japanese Bank for Industrial Cooperation (JBIC), asking it to consider our proposal for funding the DFC project,'' Railway Board Chairman K C Jena said.

Mr Jena said only recently Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had submitted its final report to the Railways on the feasibility of the DFC. ''We have accepted the report. We also thought that the funding for the project should come from a Japanese agency.'' He said the proposal had been submitted and the ministry would evaluate their response. ''The final call will be taken by the Prime Minister,'' he added.

Japan has shown interest in funding the flagship project of Indian Railways, but its one major condition was that container trains must operate on the electrified route of the western freight corridor that would link Delhi with Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai.

He also announced that the trial run to move double stack containers on the electrified western corridor on the broad gauge section would commence soon. The trial run will be conducted on Jakhapura-Daitari section in Orissa.

''On the successful completion of the trial, it will be replicated on the western corridor and it will haul 186 containers on flat wagons as compared to 138 containers in 'well box' wagons,'' he said.

''Our plan is to operate double stack containers of nine feet each on a flat wagon with overhead wires at a height of 7.1 meters as against the existing 5.5 meters. India will thus become the first country to have double stack container trains of such height on the electrified route,'' he said.

China also operates double stack containers having a height of 6.3 meters only but these are run on the standard gauge and are 'well wagons'.

Mr Jena said work on the project was expected to commence by the year-end as the trial run with the help from Japan would take around six months.

UNI/SKS PK KP2030

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