First project built under public-private participation

Gaurav Raghuvanshi

Samakhiali (Gujarat), March 24

The first project built under public-private participation under the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) has become operational with a goods train traversing the newly converted Palanpur-Samakhiali link on Friday.

The Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad, flagged off a container train at a function at Palanpur railway station. The 250 km link is the first phase of the 300 km Palanpur-Gandhidham gauge conversion project being undertaken by the Kutch Railway Company Ltd, a special purpose vehicle set up by RVNL last year.

The line will further be extended to Gandhidham by December, Mr Lalu Prasad said. Samakhiali is already connected with Gandhidham by a single broad gauge line and the second line is being laid by Kutch Railway.

New link

The new link will help save a distance of 130 km (Rs 1.5 lakh per rake) for goods trains moving from Kandla and Mundra ports in the Kutch district of Gujarat to north India.

At present, this cargo has to use the Viramgam-Ahmedabad route.

The area generates about 45 million tonnes of cargo each year, out of which just 12 million tonnes comes to the Railways.

The inauguration comes a day after the Railway Minister flagged off the first double-stack container train at Jaipur.

The new line is also equipped to handle double stack container trains that double the load-carrying capacity of container trains.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 25, 2006)
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