PUNE: The much-awaited doubling of the Pune-Miraj rail track would commence within a month, official sources on the Central Railway confirmed on Thursday. The project, once completed, would give push to cargo and passenger transportation in Western Maharashtra that is deprived of a strong rail network.
The Ministry of Railways had announced doubling of Pune-Miraj-Londa track in the 2015 rail budget. The project — at an estimated cost of Rs 4,670 crore — is among the costliest projects of the railway department. The project has completed procedural norms and actual ground work would start within a month’s time.
“The Railway project is important for faster connectivity with the south India. The project has completed all procedural hurdles and actual ground work would commence within a month,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Another official, on condition of anonymity, said, “The doubling of the track would open new avenues for the business sector in western Maharashtra. The railway does not have a strong network in this region. The region is ahead in economic activities, but transportation is the biggest concern for passengers and industries in this region. The deadline of such projects is important. History shows us a different picture and the department is committed to finish the work within two years.”
Shivnath Biyani, member of road and railway passengers association, said, “We had been demanding this project for last many years. The doubling of existing track would increase the number of trains from Miraj to other destinations.”
He added, “The South-Central Railway has completed doubling of track till Belgaum and would soon reach Gonda. Therefore, work should be completed within two years. But the railway is known to not follow deadlines. The biggest beneficiary of this project is industries in western Maharashtra. It would boost sugar, bauxite, coal, jagery, grains and textile transportation.”
Vijay Bhosale, member Pune divisional railway consultant committee, said, “The doubling of track will boost passenger transportation. The citizens in western Maharashtra heavily rely on road transportation. The projects could reduce the time to reach Pune and Mumbai. Even double track help in transport of perishable goods.”