The 62nd Network Planning Group (NPG) meeting under PM GatiShakti was held yesterday in New Delhi, under the chairpersonship of Special Secretary (Logistics), Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), SumitaDawra. NPG members representing various infrastructure Ministries and Departments, such as Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Ministry of Power, Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, besides NITI Aayog actively participated in the meeting.
In the meeting, two railway line projects were discussed. The first involves a Greenfield railway line spanning 127 km in the state of Jharkhand. This project aims to bridge the last-mile gap to existing coal blocks, aiming to create the most efficient rail link, reducing the distance and time for travel.
The second project involved a brownfield railway line in Jharkhand and West Bengal, benefiting logistical movement in the industrial belt of Burnpur, Durgapur, and Asansol. This initiative is aimed at alleviating congestion on the existing railway line, providing an additional traffic capacity and generating extra revenue through detention savings. As per GatiShakti principles, the projects were discussed to promote multimodal connectivity to the manufacturing and commercial zones, while uplifting the socio-economic development of the region through improved logistics ecosystem.
Further, two road projects were also discussed with a combined road length of more than 300 kms. One project is in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, aiming to uplift the socio-economic conditions in tribal districts and a Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected district. The road is expected to reduce the length of present travel by 11% (from 153.45 km to 136.62 km) and travel time by 56% (from 4.2 hours to 1.85 hours).
The second road project, situated in Assam and Mizoram, offers alternative connectivity route in the region, resulting in a 20% reduction in length (from 215 km to 172 km) and a 50% reduction in travel time (from 5 hours to 2.5 hours) over present connectivity. This road is poised to benefit industrial parks and the Bamboo Technology Park in the region. A Rail Sagar Corridor program by the Ministry of Railway was also discussed which aims to increase the Rail and ports-based cargo share by 2031, improving modal shift for railways and contributing to cleaner ways of freight movement.
Special Secretary (Logistics), DPIIT underscored the pivotal role of these projects in nation-building, with particular emphasis on the significance of multi-modal connectivity during the meeting. She highlighted their potential as a powerful tool for inclusive growth, especially in historically neglected areas. By establishing easy connectivity and communication networks in backward and tribal regions, these projects aim to empower these areas, enhancing accessibility, education, and healthcare and thereby narrowing the development gap. Members of the NPG stressed that these initiatives could serve as crucial catalysts for economic activities by facilitating the movement of goods and services, fostering a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. Additionally, there was a collective acknowledgment of the importance of the PM GatiShaktiNational Master Plan in effective project planning, as area development plans being developed in the vicinity of the infrastructure projects have the potential to give better connectivity to economic and social clusters.