The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, gave its approval on August 16, 2023, to seven critical projects proposed by the Ministry of Railways. These projects, with an estimated budget of Rs 32,500 crore, will be fully funded by the Central Government. The primary focus of these initiatives is to enhance the efficiency of railway operations and alleviate congestion, thereby ushering in essential infrastructural advancements in some of the busiest sections of the Indian Railways.
The geographical scope of these projects spans 35 districts in nine states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. This ambitious project is set to expand the existing Indian Railways network by a substantial 2,339 km. Beyond the infrastructural enhancements, these projects are expected to generate substantial employment, providing approximately 7.06 crore man-days of work opportunities for residents of the nine states.
The core objective of these projects is to upgrade vital transportation routes that facilitate the movement of diverse commodities such as food grains, fertilizers, coal, cement, fly ash, iron and finished steel, clinkers, crude oil, limestone, and edible oil, among others. The capacity augmentation initiatives are poised to significantly increase freight traffic by an impressive 200 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Leveraging its environmentally friendly and energy-efficient nature, the railway system will not only contribute to achieving national climate objectives but also play a pivotal role in reducing the overall logistics costs for the country.
In consonance with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of an “Atmanirbhar India,” these projects align seamlessly with the goal of promoting self-reliance in the region. The transformative impact of these initiatives will be evident through the creation of a multi-skilled workforce, enhancing both employment and self-employment prospects for the local populace. Furthermore, these projects exemplify the realization of the PM-Gati Shakti National Master Plan for Multi-model connectivity, a testament to integrated planning that facilitates the seamless movement of people, goods, and services.
Additionally, as of August 1, 2023, significant progress has been made in electrifying the broad gauge rail lines, covering a total length of 59,524 km. The introduction of 50 Vande Bharat services, the implementation of Automatic Block Signaling along 3,946 route km till June 2023, and the provision of Wi-Fi facilities at 6,108 stations have collectively contributed to enhancing the overall rail travel experience and modernizing the railway infrastructure.