Mamata raises fate of EDFC’s Bengal stretch with Goyal

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, saying that the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor’s (EDFC) Bengal section was “fledging” due to lack of clarity in the centre’s “course of execution” and urged him to address the “strategic policy gap” affecting the project.

Banerjee said her government has already acquired 70 per cent of the land required for the 538 kilo-meter stretch of Sonnagar-Dankuni section of EDFC that passes through Bengal, and has already handed over 60 per cent of the land to the Railways.

Noting that the EDFC will be the “lifeline for cargo movement at the heart of the country”, she said while the majority of the project is being done in the public-governmental mode, the third stretch in West Bengal is expected to be executed in public-private partnership model.

Banerjee claimed the project is suffering as the Centre is yet to decide “a precise course of execution” for this section, adding that she is certain that the public execution and public funding of the entire EDFC will not be a problem since the World Bank is funding the project.

The EDFC is expected to take away the cargo burden from usual railway tracks and have a separate channel for freight movements. It has three stretches — Punjab’s Ludhiana to Uttar Pradesh’s Mughalsarai (1,192 kms), Mughalsarai to Sonnagar in Bihar (126 kms) and Sonnagar to Dankuni in West Bengal (538 kms).

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