New Delhi, Feb 7 (UNI) The government today approved electrification of 809 kilometers of Barauni-Katihar-Guwahati section of the East Central and North East Frontier Railways at a cost of Rs 505.68 crore, with the objective of catering to the anticipated increase in passenger and freight traffic by 2012.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said the project, which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), would be completed by 2011-12. A sum of Rs 25 crore has been earmarked for the project during 2008-09.
''Electrification of the Barauni-Katihar-Guwahati section will facilitate running long-distance freight and passenger trains, including Rajdhani and Garib Rath Express, towards North-East end-to-end on electric traction,'' he told newspersons.
Electrification of this route would also contribute to the flexibility through continuity of traction and economic operation, he pointed out.
More importantly, it would offset requirement of imported crude and diesel, in addition to environmental benefits that would accrue, the minister said, adding that such a measure was essential to meet the anticipated increase in passenger and freight traffic by 2012.
He said the project, on its completion, would meet the requirements of transporting coal, iron and steel, cement and petroleum products on the western route and of foodgrains and fertilisers on the eastern route. Besides, it would impact on passenger movement in a positive manner, he added..
The electrification of this route is, in fact, part of the 1518-km-long railway link from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh to Guwahati in Assam. This is an important infrastructural section for the development of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur.
Mr Prasad said the first phase of the project -- electrification of Barabanki-Gorakhpur-Barauni section (709 km) -- had already been approved and work was on progress on this section.
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