CCEA approves Doubling of Daund-Manmad Railway Line

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the doubling of 247.5 Km long Railway line from Daund (Solapur Division of CR)  to Manmad (Bhusawal Division of CR) to ease movement of passengers and goods across Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik in Maharashtra.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave the approval at an estimated cost of Rs 2,081.27 crore and expected completion cost of Rs 2330.51 crore.

The 247.5 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

“Doubling of the line will greatly ease the ever increasing passenger and freight traffic on Daund-Manmad route, thereby increasing the revenue of Railways,” the rail ministry said in a statement.

“Besides passengers, industries in and around Daund- Manmad route will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. The districts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik in Maharashtra will be benefited by this project,” it said.

At present the Railways is working on the Mumbai-Chennai route by doubling the Bhigwan-Mohol and Hotgi-Gulbarga sections.

Work on a new line on the Lonand-Phaltan-Baramati route in Maharashtra is also in progress.

“Once these works are completed, there will be tremendous increase in traffic over the Daund-Manmad section and existing single line will not be in a position to deal with the increased traffic,” the ministry statement said, emphasising the need for doubling.

IPRCL to build Indore-Manmad Rail line to ease Container Shipment to JNPT: says Nitin Gadkari

MUMBAI: Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL), which is executing projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore, will build Indore-Manmad rail line for shipments of containers to JNPT, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

IPRCL is a first-of-its-kind Joint Venture Company (JVC), between the Major Ports under the Ministry of Shipping, and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL).

“From Indore and Dewas 47,000 containers go to JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust). They go via Ahmedabad and Delhi. It takes eight days for containers to reach JNPT. We (IPRCL) are constructing a railway line between Indore and Manmad which can carry shipments in just 24 hours,” Shipping, Road Trnasport and Highways Minsiter Gadkari told reporters on the sidelines of India PPP Summit organised by FICCI.

He said the detailed project report for about 339 km-long project is ready which is aimed at cutting down Indore-Mumbai distance by 200 km and would offer a corridor for despatching export containers from Indore region directly to JNPT. The minister said that 50 per cent of the about Rs 4,000 crore project would be funded by the Railways while the remaining will be offered by JNPT.

“Earlier, Railway Minister has said that 50 per cent of the cost will be contributed by the states and the rest 50 per cent by the Railways. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra had expressed their inability to do so. I said JNPT will provide 50 per cent and the rest 50 per cent will be provided by the Railways,” Gadkari said.

The discussions on the project are on and the land will be provided free of cost by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments, which will be converted into equity. State governments have also agreed to exempt taxes, he said. Likewise, the minister said that a Rs 1,000 crore rail line is bieng built to carry coal from Talcher to Paradip where Coal India plans to augment its output from the present 60 MT to 300 MT. “Coal can easily be transported to Kandla and Mumbai from Paradip after the project,” he said.

A FICCI-EY study titled, ‘Revival of PPP momentum in the transport sector’, highlighted the need to resolve multiple issues dampening the private sector interest and slowing the rate of private investment in the sector. It calls for key interventions to remove the roadblocks to PPP and accelerate the implementation of PPP projects. These interventions would include policy actions, regulatory changes and push the reforms agenda, which will create conducive environment for bringing investments into the sector.

The study was released today by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India; Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Junaid Kamal Ahmad, India Country Director, South Asia, The World Bank, and other dignitaries at the inaugural session of the India PPP Summit, orgainsed by FICCI in association with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) India.

The main recommendations of the study include strengthening of lending institutions, greater participation of insurance and pension funds, establishment of Infrastructure PPP Project Review Committee (IPRC) and the Infrastructure PPP Adjudicatory Tribunal (IPAT), setting up of 3P India as proposed in the Union Budget for 2014-15, mechanism to keep a check on aggressive bidding , need for independent regulators, passing and enactment of pending bills, strong emphasis on performance-based contracts, better preparation of DPR and revisiting the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme.

MPs from Nagpur & Bhusawal Divisions seek say in development of Rail facilities

NAGPUR: At least seven of the ten MPs who attended the divisional level meeting held by Central Railway on Friday here wanted that they should have a say in development process of the railway infrastructure and facilities.

The seven MPs from Nagpur and Bhusawal divisions of Central Railway and those who attended the meeting included Nana Patil (Jalgaon), Jyoti Dhurve (Betul), Prataprao Jadhav (Buldhana), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek), Ramdas Tadas (Wardha), Sanjay Dhotre (Akola), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati) and Rajya Sabha member Dr Vikas Mahatme (Nagpur). Central Railway general manager DK Sharma and DRMs of Nagpur and Bhusawal BK Gupta and RK Yadav were also present.

Though the discussions revolved around issues pertaining to respective MP’s constituencies, for the first time two committees have been formed for Nagpur and Bhusawal divisions under MPs. Nagpur division committee will be headed by Wardha MP Ramdas Tadas while Bhusawal division one will be headed by Akola MP Dhotre. These will directly represent problems and issues related to railways with the top officials.

“The directions for such committees were from the Railway Board, as meetings with MPs are not held frequently, the committee will serve the purpose,” Tadas told. A section of MPs was of the view that they should be involved in development process of railway infrastructure and creating facilities at stations in their constituency. “This will help solve many problems instead of crying over spilt milk later,” said Dr Vikas Mahatme.

Among the MPs’ wish list was an intercity between Nagpur-Ballarpur, Duronto between Nagpur-Pune and Jan Sadharan Express between Nagpur-Mumbai. They also demanded stoppages of trains at Ajni.

Railway officials said line capacity utilization had already reached 180% and operating more trains would be possible only after third and fourth lines are commissioned on different routes.

Tadas also wanted to expedite work on Wardha-Nanded-Yavatmal line. “Passengers still prefer private buses over trains to reach Nanded and Aurangabad due to frequency and less travel time,” he said and suggested to cut travel time to both the cities. Wardha MP also demanded Wi-Fi facility at all important stations between Nagpur and Mumbai.

Dhotre demanded a revamp of Akola station by utilizing vacant railway land for commercial purposes on PPP basis. On his demand to install escalators, Sharma said work to set up two escalators was already in progress and will be completed by September.

Earlier, CR General Manager Sharma commissioned 225th loco at Ajni electric loco shed. The shed achieved milestone by increasing its annual maintenance capacity to 225. The 225th loco that rolled out on Friday was named ‘Ojas’.

IR considering expansion of Rail Wheel Plant Traction Machine workshop: says Hemant Godse, MP/Nashik

(File Pic) Launching of the Railway Reservation Counter at Trimbak Post office by Hemant Godse, MP, Nashik

NASHIK: Member of Parliament, from Nashik Mr.Hemant Godse has said that the Railways was considering of expanding its Rail Wheel plant Traction Machine Workshop area on Eklahara Road, Nashik city.

According to the member of parliament, Godse, who has been raising the issues with the Railways for expanding of their projects in the nearly 200 acres of vacant land, just about six km away from Nashik Road Railway Station, he met Railway Board Member Vinit Tandon recently where he was assured of the new steps being considered by the Railways.

“I met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and have drawn his attention to over 200 acres of land available with Railways and Nashik industry having the potential to meet Railways technical requirement – especially in electricity. I also recently met Tandon on the availability of space and with a request to consider Nashik as destination for expansion of Railway Works,” Godse said.

The Railway Board member is said to have assured him about considering the space for expansion of Rail Wheel plant. “The Board member got the clear idea of how much space was available with the Railways and how it could be put to best use. He as assured to look into the matter,” Godse said.

The Railways has acquired 250 acres of land in the year 1983. It raised the Traction Machine Workshop that primarily looks into the ‘traction’ aspect of the Railway engines. The campus also hosts Indian Railway Institute of Electrical Engineering (IREEN) and Railway Protection Force (RPF)’s zonal training centres in the far corner.

Despite all these facilities in place, the Railways still has over 200 acres of plot lying vacant and the same can be used for the development of the Railways as well as the area, which will be a win-win situation for the both. “Railways will have a good plant at very short distance from Mumbai and at the same the locals will get jobs and the industry at Nashik will flourish,” Godse added.

CCEA approves Guntur-Guntakal, Manmad-Jalgaon, Phephana-Indara & Mau-Shahganj Rail line Electrification projects

NEW DELHIIn a bid to improve rail connectivity across the country, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved three railway projects with a total length of 700 kms. “The CCEA approved three railway projects of 700 kms,” Union Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference after the CCEA meeting which was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The government has approved the doubling and electrification of 401.47 km Guntur-Guntakal rail line project in Andhra Pradesh,” Goyal said.

“The project would cost Rs 4,201 crore. The project would also improve the traffic to Amravati, the new capital of the Andhra Pradesh state, which covers the four districts – Guntur, Kurnool, Ananthpur and Prakasham,” the union minister said.

The minister pointed out that the project will be funded through cost sharing in a 50:50 ratio by the state government and the Ministry of Railways.

Goyal said that this project fulfils the central government’s commitment given in the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act regarding the increased rail connectivity to the Rayalaseema region to Amravati.

“The CCEA also approved the laying of 160 km third line on Manmad-Jalgaon rail project and its electrification,” Goyal said adding that the project was approved in the 2016-17 budget.

Highlighting the benefit of the third line, Goyal said: “This project would improve the running of the trains on the Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Kolkata route.”

The project would cost Rs 1,198 crore and 32 lakh man days’ employment will be generated.

Announcing the CCEA’s third decision, Goyal said, “The CCEA has approved the 150 km doubling and electrification of the Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj (excluding Indara-Mau) rail line projects in Uttar Pradesh.”

He also said that the project would prove a boon for the people and create 30 lakh man days’ employment.

“This Rs 1,190.98 crore project would be completed in five years,” Goyal added.

Land acquisition process for new Railway line between Sevagram (Wardha)-Nanded via.Yavatmal in Yavatmal fast-tracked

NAGPUR: The land acquisition process for the new railway line between Sevagram (Wardha) to Nanded via Yavatmal has been fast tracked, said Land Acquisition Officer Vijay Bhakre here today.

“The District Collector, Land Acquisition Officer and Railway officers have jointly held two separate camps for four villages – Ghoti, Chaparda, Kalamb and Thalegaon – in Kalamb tehsil of the district and distributed over Rs 16 crore directly to the farmers for the land acquired for the project,” said Bhakre.

The Railway can now float tender for the construction of the track and station at Kalamb as the land acquisition process has been completed, he said.

The land acquisition from Wardha to the border of Yavatmal tehsil is now completed and the land acquisition of Yavatmal tehsil is in progress, Bhakre added.

A total of 125 farmers have been given compensation for the land acquired so far in Kalamb tehsil.

The length of the track made available through the first phase in Yavatmal district is 22.94 kms out of the total length of track till Darwha tehsil border which is 58 kms, informed Bhakre.

There are over 1,100 farmers in the Yavatmal tehsil and the land expected to be acquired is 600 hectares estimated to cost Rs 150 crores, he added.

According to the District Collector Sachindra Pratap Singh, the administration has received clearance under ‘Social Impact Assessment (SIA) Rule’ and ‘Special Railway Project status’ to purchase the land at open market rate from the farmers in May 2016 from the Railway Ministry.

“Today we have distributed Rs 16 crore to the 125 farmers of four villages in Kalamb tehsil as compensation against the land admeasuring over 110 hectare at the rate of 4.2 times more than Ready Reckoner rates,” Singh said.

Similar camps would be held in every village and the compensation would be distributed directly to the farmers in the near future, said the Collector.

“We are supposed to complete the proceedings in three years. But we could complete the process in 10 months time,” Bhakre said.

“We have distributed necessary documents and PAP (Project Affected Person) certificates to the farmers so that they need not come again to the office for the same,” he added.

Nashik Onion Traders demand more Rakes, Bhusawal Rail Division say not possible

NASHIK: Onion traders on Wednesday met the district collector and sought an increase in the number of railway rakes to transport the perishable crop.

The traders are under pressure this year in the wake of a bumper crop. Currently, 13 rakes of onion (1,800 tonnes a rake) is reaching market because of the bumper crop. This is more than double last year’s figure. “The railways is failing to provide two rakes a day in February even as at least four are needed to transport the crop,” onion merchant Sohanlal Bhandari said.

“Every day, around 2 lakh quintal of onions reach the market. If we consider 40% of the amount are carried by railways, it means there should be at least four rakes a day. In February, the railways provided us 29 rakes,” he said.

“The problem is that we are not being able to send onions out of Nashik now. As a result, we will not be able to procure it as well. And all this are leading to the fall in onion prices. Goods movement is a must and the railways should arrange for more rakes,” said one of the onion merchants who met the collector.

The railways had supplied about 60 rakes during the same time last year, when the production of the onion was half than what it is this year.”  However, now the production is more, the Railways are unwilling to spare more rakes, they said, adding that if Bhusawal Division of Central Railway is not able to cater to the burgeoning demand, the officials should approach adjoining Nanded Division of South Central Railway and ensure if additional rakes can be augmented and supplied”.

If the railways does not set things right, we will be under pressure to discontinue the intake of produce. This will lead to problems of the farmers,” another merchant, Keshav Patil, said.

The merchant added that the traders had on January 7 placed the demand of 250 rakes for February to push out the crop from the district.

Senior railway officials present at the meeting expressed their inability to provide more rakes, given the lack of infrastructure and congestion of trains.

“There is heavy congestion of trains in Fatuha (Fatwa) junction in Bihar, which is the favoured destination for the traders here. The turnaround time for the rakes has increased from three to eight days, and even more. The railways is unable to ply more rakes as picking up the perishable crop and delivering those 10 days later is not going to help,” a senior railway official said.

He suggested the traders instead pack their goods for Sitpur, Ranipatra, Dankuni and Gaur Malda that could help find some solution.

“We have suggested them a few other destinations. We will be able to help them if the solution works out,” the officer said after the meeting with the traders.

Sanawad-Khandwa section Braod Gauge work begins

Mhow Khandwa GC worksRatlam:  Gauge conversion work of 54-km-long Sanawad-Khandwa section, a part of mega Indore-Khandwa gauge conversion project, began on May 12. Considered to be the gateway to many southern Indian cities, the section will save five hours journey and also help city passengers to catch trains without visiting Bhopal.

The railways had prepared a detailed plan to carry-out gauge conversion (GC) of 472.64km long meter gauge (MG) Ratlam-Akola section into broad gauge (BG) in 2006. The project report completed in August 2007 and it got approval in the FY 2008-09. But, it received budget allotment of Rs 40 crore in 2010-11. However, from Ratlam to Mhow and Akola to Khandwa sections have been made GC. Now GC work of the remaining 139.19-km-long Mhow-Khandwa has to be carried-out in two phases— Mhow to Sanawad and Sanawad to Khandwa.

Travel time of City passengers to be reduced by 5 hours

Mhow-Sanawad section tenders likely in this fiscal.

Mhow-Khandwa gauge conversion work next.

The Western Railway has now turned its focus to Mhow Khandwa section after completing the Indore-Mhow broad gauge conversion work. The gauge conversion work of the 139-km long Mhow-Khandwa section will be done in two phases – Mhow to Sanawad and Sanawad to Khandwa. Work has already started on the 54-km long Sanawad-Khandwa section. As Khandwa is a major junction, the broad gauge conversion will improve Indore’s connectivity with southern cities. “Tenders for Mhow-Sanawad section are likely to be floated in October,” a railway official said.

Official sources in the railways said that GC work of 54-km-long Sanawad-Khandwa section had started on May 12 from Khandwa-end. In next six months, the railways would carry-out earth work without taking mega block under which leveling, broadening of track repairing and construction of bridges would be done. Sources said that the railways took up GC work as the NTPC had hand-over Rs 400 crore to the railways. NTPC is setting-up a thermal plant close to Sanawad and the track will help in ferrying coal to the station.

Member of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) of Western Railway (WR) Ajit Singh Narang said that tenders for Mhow-Sanawad section are also likely to be floated in October and approval for tenders could be given before the end of current fiscal.

MP to ink MoU with Railways on Mhow-Manmad Rail project

Bhopal: Minister of state (MOS) for Railways, Manoj Sinha has said that to constitute a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for Indore-Manmad new rail line project, the railways would soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Madhya Pradesh government.

Talking to this correspondent, Sinha said that our talks with the state government are on. He said that they have spoken to MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too. As soon as this happens a SPV could be constituted, which will source and manage funds for the execution of the ambitious Indore-Manmad Rail project.

Sinha arrived on a day’s visit to the city on Monday night to roll out three train services from the city. While giving approval to the Rs 4,900 crore project in the last railway budget it was decided to set up a SPV where besides the ministry of Railways, Maharashtra and MP governments would also be stakeholders.

An MOU between ministry of Railways and Maharashtra government had already been signed in April this year.

Meanwhile, Manoj Marathe, who filed a petition in Indore bench of MP high court for the proposed Indore-Manmad rail line project, told Free Press that he would be keeping a close watch on what the Railway minister and state government are doing in this matter.

Benefits of the project

  • It will reduce distance between Indore and Mumbai Central by 250 km. At present the distance via Ratlam, Surat and Vadodara is 830 km. Via Indore-Manmad distance would be reduced to 580 km
  • Travel time through the proposed project would be reduced by super fast train to five hours and four hours by express train
  • Distance between Indore-Pune would be reduced by 100 km and travel time in super fast train by two hours and by express train by one to one and half hours

Project factfile

  • Total distance between Mhow-Manmad is 339 km, out of which MP covers 147 km and Maharashtra covers 192 km
  • In 2004, initial survey was conducted which estimated rate of return (ROR) 7%. Though, experts said that this was underestimated
  • In 2009, second survey was conducted, which estimated ROR 14%
  • There would be two tunnels each of 9.6 km and 5 km length
  • Dhamnod, Julwania and Sendhwa would be major railway stations in MP
  • On June 22, 2012 planning commissioner gave approval to the project saying 50% of the cost of the project would be borne by the railways and rest 25% each would be borne by Maharashtra and MP
  • In 2015-16 Rail Budget Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu again approved its renewed survey
  • In 2016-17 Rail budget, the ambitious project was approved
  • Project would be completed by SPV in which Railways ministry, Maharashra and MP governments would be stakeholders
  • Railway ministry and Maharashtra government had inked a MOU for constitution of a SPV in Mumbai on April 22, 2016

Demand to stop upgrade of Rail line through Melghat

meghat tiger reserve
Train after looping around the spiral emerges through the forest and onto the viaduct

Nagpur: Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Railways, and Prakash Javadekar , minister of state for environment and forests, have been urged to drop the plan to upgrade Akola-Khandwa railway line passing through Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR).

The Indian Railways had finalized upgradation of 174km Khandwa-Akola railway meter gauge section on South Central Railway (SCR). Of this, Amalakhurd-Akot (77.5km) passes through hilly parts of MTR and its estimated cost is Rs.1,454 Crore.

Former National Board of Wildlife member Kishore Rithe has pointed out that if the railways follow the same alignment and gradient, trains will not run beyond 60 kmph, and also won’t connect villages from Akola, Amravati and Buldhana districts. “Considering both the aspects, people in this region and MTR administration had demanded diversion of this line outside forest area to maximize benefits,” Rithe says.

As per present meter gauge alignment, 25km of the line between Amalakhurd and Akot passes through Wan sanctuary. As additional forest land was also required to take up gauge conversion on this stretch, railways team in 2014 had explored an alternate route outside the sanctuary area. This route bypassing the sanctuary had been planned with the help of Regional Remote Sensing Centre, Nagpur. It would entail abandoning 51km of railway line in the existing alignment and construction of new line over about 80km.

Even as clearance from Railway Board was awaited on the proposed diverted alignment between Amalakhurd to Akot, pressure from local MP Sanjay Dhotre led the railways to decide on using the existing alignment and gradient to upgrade this line.

“We feel that this is neither in the interest of the people from three districts nor forest and wildlife. Existing movement of trains has killed many wild animals and reptiles, specially during monsoon and winter season,” he pointed out.

As this is a remote area, there are several incidents this train route being used to transport forest produce and wildlife derivatives illegally from the forests of MTR. This includes illegal trade of medicinal plants and wildlife derivatives like tiger, leopard skins, bones etc. Besides, regular forest fires happen in summer due to the railway traffic through 17.3km of core area.

CR’s Bhusawal Division registers 62% drop in Parcel Revenue at Manmad

mmr stnManmad (MMR): The Manmad railway station under Bhusawal Division of Central Railway has registered the biggest loss in parcel earnings as its revenue decreased by 62%. The Nashik Road railway station also started registering loss from July onwards.

“Apart from Manmad, Bhusalwal registered a 31.25% loss. Overall, the Railways lost 24.28% of the revenue from parcels. The Kumbh Mela in Nashik resulted in lower turnouts during July, August and September and we are hoping that the business will go up. The authorities are planning ways to increase traffic,” an official said.

Many of the traders are turning to road transport which is one of the reasons for the loss in revenue, the official added. Business at the Nashik Road railway station too has suffered.

“We have received a list of demands from farmers. They want smaller rakes. Since it is a policy matter, the issue has been forwarded to the higher officials,” the railway official said.

Ramdas Patil, of Raver traders and farmers association said that organisation also met the local MP Raksha Khadse to discuss the issue. “The MP has assured to take up the matter with the state and central government,” he said.

Pimpalgaon Wakhaji Dam stuck for want of Railway permissions: allege VIDC

Bhusawal (BSL): The Pimpalgaon Wakhaji project, some 50km from the city, has the same story as other dams in Vidarbha. Though the delay here may be normal by VIDC standards, caused by the railways not giving permission for critical works for five years.

A minor project, it was planned to harness water from a natural lake to irrigate 915 hectares in 2004 at a cost pegged at Rs20 crore. By 2015, the cost has been revised to Rs48.60 crore. Here the canal intersects a railway line. A precast tunnel will be pushed below the railway line. A permission from the railways was sought in 2008 but there was no response till 2013. Finally, the work started only last year, said a VIDC source.

Meanwhile, the barrage which is supposed to have a minimum width of three metes appeared to be narrower, pointed out some of the contractors who were part of the visit. To this, a VIDC official said it could be because of lack of maintenance. The dam can be transferred to the maintenance wing only after it is complete. There was a similar scene at the 5.5km canal too.

Third leopard killed in rail accident near Bhagur, Devlali

The leopard that was found dead near Devlali on Railway track
The leopard that was found dead near Devlali on Railway track

Devlali (DVL): A six-year-old male leopard was killed in a rail accident near Bhagur, Deolali on early Monday morning, bringing the toll of the cats killed in the district to three this year. The locals had spotted the animal several times in Deolali in the past few months. This is the second such incident of a leopard being killed in on the railway tracks this year.

The leopard is said to have been crossing the railway line going towards Mumbai on the Bhagur-Lahvit Road in the wee hours of Monday when it got hit by a passenger train at a distance of 177 km from pole no. 60/62.

Forest officials have attributed frequent sightings of leopards in the jungles near Barnes School in Deolali to water scarcity due to summer. On May 15, a leopard had attacked a goat and a pig in the Chowdhary farm near Barnes School. When the farmer raised a cry, the cat fled. It is being speculated that the leopard that got killed on Monday morning was the same cat that was spotted moving around in the farms.

The leopard had apparently gone in search of water near the banks of the Darna river on late Sunday night and on its way back while crossing the railway line close to Dongre farm on the Bhagur-Lahvit Road, it got hit by the train and was badly injured in the face and forehead and later died.

After the forest department was informed of the incident early on early Monday morning, assistant forest guard Pradeep Bhamre, range forest officer Prashant Khairnar, forester M S Gosavi and others reached the spot and took the body of the leopard in their custody.

“We have cremated the leopard. The cat had most probably gone out in search of water when it got hit by the train,” one of the forest officials said.

When asked about the recent spurt of incidents of leopard deaths in the district, the official said, “Such incidents do not happen often. But at times, these animals fail to gauge the approaching train or other vehicles especially when the visibility is poor. There has been presence of leopards in this area as the environment is suitable for them. We have installed cages in various places to trap the cats straying into the city.”

Besides Deolali, cages have also been laid at Bhagur, Pandhurli, Vanjarwadi, Lohshingwe, Lahvit, Donwade, Shivda and other villages where the presence of leopards is known.

Maharashtra MLC demands special rail corp for Marathwada region on the lines of KRCL

kaAmarsingh Pandit, MLC of NCP in the upper House of Maharashtra asked the state government to institute a special rail corporation for Marathwada on the lines of the Konkan Railway Corporation so that the state could raise funds to push pending railway routes in the backward Marathwada region. Discussion on rail issues started after Amarsingh Pandit (NCP) moved the non-governmental motion in the Upper House.

The state government on Friday admitted that the railway ministry had not sanctioned the new Pune-Nashik rail route. Transport Minister Diwakar Raote assured the House that he would arrange a meeting with Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu with all party members to push pending issues of the railways in the state. Mr Raote was replying to a non-governmental motion on pending railway route issues in the Marathwada region moved by Amarsingh Pandit of NCP in the upper House.

Mr Raote, in his reply, said that the state would consider Mr Pandit’s suggestion and informed the House that he had visited Delhi thrice to meet Mr Prabhu in this regard. “After pushing and continuous follow-up, Mr Prabhu has approved 12 projects in the state. However, the railway ministry has not approved the most awaited Pune-Nashik rail route,” the minister agreed.

Mr Raote further said that Konkan had connected with western Maharashtra through the new Karad-Chiplun line. “The railway ministry has approved the new line and we’ll arrange for laying the foundation stone for it very soon,” he said, adding that an outlay of Rs 1,200 crore had been allocated in the Railway budget for the same.  He also informed the House about the status of Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli railway route, Solapur-Beed and other ongoing works of railway routes in the state.

Railways gets booking office space at Triambakeshwar

नासिक Nashik (NK): The Railways has been allotted a space at Trimbakeshwar on a temporary basis where it will construct a ticket office, enabling easier booking facility for pilgrims visiting the town and Nashik during next year’s Kumbh mela.

“This will help the Railways prevent the rush for current tickets at Nashik Road and Nashik City during the Kumbh mela when nearly one crore pilgrims are likely to visit Nashik and Trimbakeshwar during each of the Parvanis,” an official said.

At present, the Railways has current ticket booking centres at Nashik Road railway station and the Nashik Municipal Corporations (NMC’s) Palika Bazaar at Sharanpur Road, Nashik city.

“We had requested the administration for a space to construct a booking office at Trimbakeshwar to facilitate people visiting Trimbakeshwar and willing to return home with current tickets. There will be no reservation counters at the new centre. Our aim is to reduce the load on the two centres in Nashik city with nine booking windows and another 10 being opened on a temporary basis,” a railway officer said.

The Railways has planned 10 additional booking windows on a temporary basis in the city – at some places in city, at Nashik Road railways station and on Nashik East-side. “These will benefit people coming from that side of the railway station. In the long run, this will benefit the people coming to the station from Ahmednagar district and Sinnar taluka in Nashik district.” the officer added.

Boulder fall cripples Mumbai-Nashik train services

नासिक Nasik (NK): Thousands of long-distance passengers were stranded on different stretches of Central Railway after a boulder fell on the tracks close to Igatpuri station on the Nashik-Kasara line on Wednesday. Officials attributed the fall to incessant rains in the region.

The incident was reported about 8.30 am at a spot nearly 4 km from Igatpuri and the barreling rock took the overhead wires along with it. The immediate effect of the mishap was that several trains that were close to Nashik and Igatpuri had to be halted.

What compounded the problem was the timing as the morning hours are among the most busy as far as trains coming from the east and north into Mumbai on CR’s lines are concerned. Local train commuters were spared from inconvenience as the boulder-hit site is out of CR’s suburban limits.

On any normal day, the North-East section of CR that is the Kasara-Nashik stretch sees close to 160 train movements, including 50 pairs of mail and express trains that come into and go out of Mumbai and 10 pairs of goods trains in and out of Mumbai. On Wednesday, the movements had come down to less than 10 said CR officials.

Among the trains that got stalled immediately were the 12262 Howrah-Mumbai Duronto and the 13201 Patna-Kurla LTT Express, both trains which generally come into the city packed. This incident also meant that there was a bunching of long-distance trains in the city – on the fifth line right from Bhandup to Vidyavihar, just at the entrance of Kurla Terminus.

Most passengers on the Kurla LTT-Muzaffarpur Express, which was stuck near Bhandup station, were seen squatting along the tracks. “There is no announcement or clarity on when the train would move,” said Rakesh Vishwakarma.

The boulder fall also caused operational hardship for the train-runners – one driver got hurt while piloting a train – as well as passengers as CR decided to run several trains from Igatpuri instead of Mumbai. This meant that passengers with tickets on those train from Mumbai would have to reach Igatpuri somehow to board their train.

While top CR officials rushed to the spot, authorities pressed two specially equipped trains to fix the overhead wires and the tracks. Officials around 6pm said that the tentative time for the clearing of the line was 9pm on Wednesday.

Filthy Act: Cops held for stealing Petrol from Railway Wagon

Akola:  Two civil policemen were caught red handed while stealing petrol from a railway wagon near Gaigaon depot 7 kms from Akola, police said.

Vijay Sawdekar, a head constable attached to Khadan police station was arrested on Tuesday while, another head constable, Subhash Date attached to the police headquarter was arrested on September 13. Both had been pilfering petrol from the railway wagons.

Thieves and policemen alike have been targeting the Gaigaon depot and pilfering petrol. They would then sell the petrol in black market to make quick money.

Railways have booked a case against them and are help in judicial custody.