Panaji, Oct 23 (IANS) The doubling of the Konkan railway tracks would begin from November 8, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday.
Electrication of the Konkan rail line, which runs from Roha in western Maharashtra to Thokur in Karnataka, would also be undertaken soon, he said.
The track doubling would be formally launched on November 8 at Roha railway station, the northern terminus of the Konkan Railway, he said at a function organised by Konkan Railway Corporation Limited here to lay the foundation stone of the George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology.
“Konkan Railway, when it was created, was only a single track. We need a multiple track because it is very difficult to move freight traffic as well as passengers on a single track,” Prabhu said, adding that doubling of the track would help Konkan Railway earn more revenue.
The cost of track doubling on the 736-km stretch would cost around Rs.10,500 crore.
The Konkan Railway Corporation is expected to raise the money through loans from the World Bank, Japan International Development Agency, other financial institutions as well as by using the IPO route.
Prabhu said the Konkan Railway was looking to electrify the entire route to save on costs and preserve environment along ecologically sensitive Western Ghats.
“If you keep using this much amount of diesel, it will damage environment and it (diesel) is also expensive. It has been proved in many places that electrification payback period is very short,” he said.
“Western Ghats is one of the hot spots of biodiversity in the world. Using electric power will be far better,” the railways minister said, adding that Konkan Railway would try its best to tap solar and wind power for operational purposes.