India has awarded the first two contracts for its planned $5.4bn (Rs26,124 crore) dedicated freight corridor project (DFC), the minister of state for railways has revealed.

The contracts are for two sections – a 105km Sonnagar-Mughalsarai stretch of the eastern DFC and 54 major bridges on the Surat-Virar section of the western DFC.

The contracts have been awarded by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India, a unit set up by the Ministry of Railways to oversee the project.

The project, divided into an eastern and a western segment, includes building a 2,800km rail network across the country to facilitate the movement of freight.

The project will connect Delhi’s Tughlaqabad and Dadri inland ports with Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru seaport, running via the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and is expected to finish in 2017.

The project is being funded through loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the eastern DFC and Japan International Cooperation Agency for the western DFC.

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