New Delhi, Apr 2 (UNI) Signalling a shift in its stand, the Railway Ministry today announced that it had decided to seek multilateral funding from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the Eastern Freight Corridor but their would be no change in the Western Freight Corridor, which is to be funded by Japan.
''We expect the first stream of funding from the World Bank and the ADB for the Eastern Corridor to be available by the first quarter of 2009, if everything goes well,'' Railway Board Chairman K C Jena told reporters here.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad had earlier said that funding the Eastern Corridor would not be a problem as his ministry had a surplus in excess of Rs 20,000 crore.
''The World Bank, JBIC, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) are welcome to fund the project, but even if they decide not to participate, we can manage,'' Mr Prasad had said.
Mr Jena said some meetings had been held with the World Bank and the funds would most probably be available in the first quarter of 2009.
''Our team had also visited Manila to hold talks with the ADB officials and we hope that funds from both the World Bank and the ADB would be available around the same time,'' he added.
About the cost of the Eastern Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni, near Kolkata, he said it had been pegged at Rs 19,613 crore while the Western Corridor from Delhi to Jawahar Lal Nehru Port (in Navi Mumbai) would be constructed at a cost of Rs 19613 crore.
Mr Jena said Japanese funding agency, JAICA, had offered to fund the western corridor, and it had also been conducting trial runs of double stack containers on this route.
''Trials have already begun and are likely to be completed by May,'' he pointed out.
In his budget speech, Mr Prasad had said construction of the eastern and western freight corridors, which are a part of the high density Golden Quadrilateral network, would commence in 2008-09.
He also said detailed feasibility studies for the North-South, East-West, East-South and South-South dedicated freight corridors were being carried out.
UNI/SKS MSJ PM1800