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Kolkata: Chhattisgarh East West Rail Ltd (CEWRL) has secured a Rs 3976 crore loan from a State Bank of India (SBI) led consortium. It will finance a 135-kilometer double railway track project proposed to increase coal evacuation from Coal India subsidiary, South Eastern Coalfields’ large mines.

SBI’s exposure to this project is Rs 1800 crore rest being from Punjab National Bank NSE 0.54 %, Union Bank of India, Canara Bank NSE 0.44 %, Indian Bank and Bank of Baroda.

CEWRL is a joint venture between railways & South Eastern Coalfields (SECL) and the project proposes to connect Gevra Road with Pendra Road, both in Chhattisgarh. Once complete, it will enable SECL’s mega projects like Gevra, Dipka and Kusmunda evacuate almost 65 million tonnes of additional coal annually over railways as these mines would be connected to the proposed track.

Christened East West Rail Corridor, estimated to cost Rs 4970 crore, the project has been designed with an 80:20 debt-equity ratio wherein the promoters are required to contribute about Rs 994 crore and the balance Rs 3976 crore was arranged from banks as rupee term loan.

Land acquisition is complete and necessary forest clearances are already in place. The project is expected to be completed by March 2023.

The track, connecting Gevra Road with Pendra Road, will be a shorter and alternate route to the existing highly congested available rail system for movement of coal traffic towards northern and western part of the country.