Time to Make Eastern Economic Corridor into a Reality  

Prateek K Anand

(Bihar Times) There seems to be a new realization in political class of eastern states towards raising the voice, howsoever insincerely,  towards economical self realization of the region. Though belated , the glimpses of same can be found hidden in the 13 point demand submitted by JMM for six laning of NH33 among others. Then there is demand from Orissa government to develop Banspani -Paradweep corridor. Bihar government has also been on and off repeating demand for Patna- Ranchi- Jamshedpur- Haldiya/Paradweep Economic Corridor. Then there is various demand from Nepalese government for connectvity to Kathmandu and high speed secure corridor through Bihar to a port. However, the most comfounding part of this entire disjoint effort is that there is no common endeavour from these various stakeholders, evenwhen, essentially all of them are striving towards the same objective.  A concerted joint effort from all these economically and politically important stakeholders could have been hardly ignored by any government at the center.  Off course they need to work collectivelly through a joint forum in order to make this come true.

Eastern region of the country has been quite rich in natural resources and has hidden in itself a vast economic potential. However, it has not been able to progress because of a complex interaction of various factors, immediate historical background and also due to other policy related distortions largely in the hands of central authorities. Besides, this region also suffered on account of lack of coherent industrial vision on part of its leadership.

One important factor in this has been rise of communist movement resulting in industrial unrest and stagnation in a state which was to meant to act as economic trade and commerce gateway of the East. Region suffered on account of over idealism ingrained in so called intellectualism. Adverse industrial environment affected dependent economic region more than the host state. Host state did not suffer as much because of having once most promising metropolis, with built in economic sustainability of its institutions and establishments, as its capital.

Worse this region was also affected by the worst kind of policy discrimination in form of freight equalization. While this resulted in advantage of nearness to raw material becoming an irrelevant factor in locating an enterprise, decline of Kolkata under communist influence deprived this region loosing out on a promising growth engine.  Kolkata offered advantage of not only a port as window the world but also an attractive immediate market.

Other policy biases aimed at locating all institutional infrastructures, nodal offices, head offices and regulatory offices in the existing metros didn't help the matter either. Central authority had by, resorting to linguistic reorganization of states recognized, the state specific role for the various metropolis cities. This process of language based reorganization gave rise to stronger regional identities resulting in inability of the metro cities to act as the nerve center of economic activity, leading to their failure to act as a melting pot as would have been desired. Not making these cities as union territory betrayed the design of policy makers from the very beginning. This being the case one should have expected development of alternate urban conglomerates. However evidence inherent in past actions of government point to contrary.

In case of eastern region the things did not help the matter either when the leadership from the dependent region failed to explore an alternative to its overdependence on Kolkata Port. This lack of vision had resulted in other region stealing march, over the promising eastern region, to emerge as more attractive destination for industry. This has resulted in long term loss for the region as being witnessed today.

Eastern Economic Corridor originating at Kathmandu (and connecting to Tibbat links) passing through Raxaul- Muzaffarpur- Shahpur Patori- Bakhatiyarpur- BiharSharief- Nawada- Hazaribagh- Ranchi- West Singhbhum (Kharsawan-Chaibasa-Jhinkpani)- Kendujhar (Banspani)- Jajpur (Sukinda)- Kendrapara-Jagatsinghpur (Paradweep)/ Puri. Also an spur, which already exist, leading to Haldiya Port at Kharsawan/Tamar

Given this background, there is a strong case for developing an attractive economic region matching or excelling the competitive profile of the other regions across the country. This calls for a common cause between the various states of the regions which have suffered industrial and economic ignominy all along. Rise of Paradweep as a promising port and reversal of freight equalization policy coupled with revival of mineral development and metal industry, riding on commodity prices upswing, offers a great opportunity for the entire region.

A careful study of the pattern of  location of new industrial undertakings and other developments like focus on Eastern Region as future granary of India led by Eastern UP & Bihar,  hydro power capability and focus on harnessing the same in Nepal and numerous thermal power plants in the region make development of a viable economic corridor all the more attractive. This route also passes through some of the richest iron ore, coal belts and other mineral bearing areas. All this promises a high returns economic corridor. District of Kendujhar, Paschim Singhbhum, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Patratu, Hazaribagh, Biharsharief, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Raxaul, Birganj and Kathmandu  are all Industrial and Economic hub which can be roped in a north south economic corridor and can in turn be linked up to China through Tibbetan Region at Kathmandu. Also this route can emerge as one of the most viable tourism corridor when linked to Puri as well. Puri to Kathmandu in an overnight 10 hour journey in Shatbadi kind of train, passing through Buddhist circuit (with an spur to Varanasi via Gaya) and destinations like Konark can definitely do wonders for tourism industry in the region

Further a fish bone like spurs as feeder route can be used to link up this north south corridor to a wider feeding region using various NH crossings and railway trunk lines along its length.

Current Status:

 Railway line

  1. Missing link between Kathmandu and Birganj  (80 KM)
  2. Bridge Required between Shahpur Patori and Bakhatiyarpur
  3. Kodarma- Hazaribagh- Ranchi Missing link: Work is supposedly on.
  4. Ranchi-Bundu-Tamar-Kharsawan Missing link (80KM)
  5. Doubling of entire stretch. Of close to ( around 900 KM)

Railway will have to run 2 Pair of Shatabadi / Rajdhani Type of Trains one each in evening and in morning time originating from both side. And perhaps one Train of Desert Queen type.


  1. Bridge between Shahpur Patori- Bakhatiyarpur
  2. Missing link between Tamar-Kharsawan-Chaibasa and upgradation of State Highway from Chaibasa to Champua to Parsora into a Four/Six Lane NH (about 70 Km Stretch)
  3. 4 Laning of Entire stretch with exception of Tamar- Kharsawan- Chaibasa Parsora link planned under NHDP III:
  4. Possibly making the entire stretch from Kathmandu to Paradweep a six lane Access Controlled Expressway

Gas Pipeline Grid:

1. Spur Available up to Talechar

2. Originating from Talechar and moving right up to Gaya along the proposed corridor and joining proposed Haldiya-Gaya-Jagdishpur pipeline and further up to Kathmandu.

Energy Grid:

1.      750 KV line all along connecting Nepal Grid to Muzaffapur to Barh to Biharsharief to Patratu to Ranchi to Jamashedpur to Talechar to Paradweep 

2.      440 KV exist (or Proposed) along the stretch with exception of Ranchi- Jamshedpur link.

This can be initial implemented by connecting the missing link between Ranchi and Jamshedpur


  1. Paradweep Port
  2. Alternative Port could be at Dhamra


Consortium Member:
Bihar , Jharkhand, Orissa, Nepal and Central Government should together for an SPV to execute this corridor project. It can be fully funded by central government as a national project or can have equity participation from various contending authorities. Operation responsibility of rail route can stay with railways/ road Route with NHAI, Gas Grid with GAIL and PowerLines with Powergrid.
This entire corridor should be preferably developed as a National Project. If the central government can spend Rs 2500 crore on Sethusamundram project for questionable economic benefits, it should not mind funding this corridor fully as it has many fold higher economic benefit for the entire eastern region of country and has some international implications as well.
Expected Cost:

The additional expenses ( not taking in account work in progress or already part of specific plans like NHDP III) would be in the range of  Rs. 5000-5500 crores. Of this around 1000 crores will have to be invested on Nepal side around Rs 2000 Crore in Bihar (Most of this on Gas Pipeline and on Rail Cum Road Bridge between Shahpur Patori and Bakhatiyarpur ( state government already has planned for a Bridge anyway) Even Jharkhand government will have to incur a cost of around rs 2000 Crores on the remaining work.  Orissa government will also have to incur an expense around Rs 500 Crores on various works related this corridor. Cost will go up further with a six lane configuration and strengthening of Railway Network. Some additional amount will have to be provided for connectivity improvement at feeder points and to create some additional feeder routes.

*A Financial Sector Professional with over 11 years of experience in various streams like Investment Banking, Financial Services and Debt Market Operations.

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It’s really a very nice Plan, which have the capability to change this graphics of this region. Not only region it can help also a lot the most undeveloped region to come into the track of development. I think Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar & Nepal should make a common forum for this kind of plans.

Indian cities are now a days facing high immigration, which can be solved by such kind of plans. This kind of projects will generate the possibility of industrialization of this region too like Western region of India.

Let us see when this states’ government will think for their state & people & for the same Country too. May GOD it come in reality ASAP.