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Corridor of uncertainty

Corridor of uncertainty

When Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) started looking for a competent management team in 2007, they were probably well aware of the roadblocks hindering the most ambitious infrastructure project by the Railways. The Dedicated Freight Corridors may be way behind schedule (with less than 30 per cent of the targeted land acquired so far); partially due to land acquisition blues (agitations continue to brew as a result of political rhetoric). That is why RK Gupta, the new Managing Director of DFCCIL, whose job description is far less complex than his job, will need his best skills.


Gupta is an Officer of the 1977 Batch of Indian Railway Service of Engineers, and is qualified both as an engineer and as a public administrator. While the latter skill is sure to be tested in the coming years, nothing could compare with the technical skills he needed while heading the prestigious New Line Rail Project in Jammu and Kashmir as Chief Administrative Officer. Gupta has been associated with various Expert Groups including the UK-sponsored project on Strategies for Bridge Rehabilitation on the Indian Railways.


Even more interesting has been his membership on the UN sponsored Expert Group on improving Project Management in the Indian Railways. If he can bring this learning to the table as the head honcho at DFCCIL in practical and workable ways, the corridors can go a long way in a short while. As many of our readers know, only a fraction of land has been acquired along the corridors, but a scam is already brewing: An internal probe by DFCCIL last month has revealed “collusion and criminal conspiracy” by DFCCIL officials to allegedly defraud the government of crores of rupees during land acquisition. The scam, initially pegged at around Rs 100 crore, involves “inflated compensation” being paid to landowners in Gujarat.


The dedicated corridors have every opportunity to become a showcase of India's infrastructure planning and execution, like the more glamorous and acclaimed Delhi Metro. Now it is up to the new chief to take the challenge forward.

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