New Delhi: A 66-km stretch of the Railways' ambitious dedicated freight corridor project, which will now be monitored by the Prime Minister's Office, may be opened to traffic by as early as 2014.
The stretch between Mughalsarai and Sonnagar in the eastern corridor "could be commissioned by 2014", sources said, adding that civil work on the stretch will be completed by December next year.
The Rs 80,000-crore DFC project, spanning 3,300 km between Ludhiana and Dankuni in the eastern corridor and Dadri and Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai in the western corridor, is scheduled to be wrapped up by 2017 as per the plan target.
The corridors will accelerate the pace of economic growth and help Railways get a quantum leap in increasing its transportation capacity by building high-capacity network along the golden quadrilateral connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Currently, these routes account for just 16 percent of the railway network, but carry more than 50 percent of the total freight.
Civil work on the 66-km section, sources said, is in progress and pre-qualification tendering process for electrical and signal and telecommunication work is currently underway. They said work on about 52 bridges on the western corridor were also in progress.
Reviewing the progress of the project last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had directed central departments concerned and states to give the project "highest priority" and expedite work.
The work will be monitored by the PMO.