KOLHAPUR: The union cabinet has finally approved the long-pending demand of rail connectivity between Konkan Railway and western Maharashtra.
The cabinet recently approved construction of Rs 3,439 Crore Railway Line project connecting Vaibhavwadi (Sidhudurg District) on the Ratnagari Division of Konkan Railway to Kolhapur on the Pune Division of Central Railway. The railway ministry gave this information via twitter, stating that project is expected to be completed by the year 2023.
While project was principally accepted by the government, the official decision was on hold because of model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections that were held earlier this year in April-May.
According to the information given by the railway ministry, Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur rail line will be of immense benefit for districts in Maharashtra like Kolhapur, Sangli, Latur, Beed, and Osmanabad along with districts of neighboring states like Belagavi, Gulbargha and Ballari.
The Railway Board had sanctioned the rail link project few months ago that got approved by the cabinet this week. The Board had sanctioned an amount of Rs 20 crore in the current financial year to start the work. The railway ministry had completed all the preliminary work before sanctioning the said amount and Konkan Railway has been given responsibility to complete the project.
The new rail link will pass through Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Kolhapur districts, connecting coastal regions of Konkan and western Maharashtra. This is expected to boost tourism, lead development of ports and harbors, including Jaigarh and Dighi ports, and allow flow of goods from Konkan.
It is expected that Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur rail link will also felicitate transport of petroleum and petrochemicals. The new rail link will pass through hills in the western ghat that separates Konkan from other parts of Maharashtra. Konkan Railway has already completed the preliminary work on the project, including actual ground and satellite survey.
“The work for railway link project, requiring 638 hectare of land, was allotted to Konkan Railway because of it past record,” a railway official said.
Work on the 103 kilometre Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi section of Konkan Railway will begin soon. This decision was taken at a review meeting of Konkan railway recently. The meeting was attended by the Chairman, Railway Board, CMD, Konkan Railway and other senior officials.
During the discussions the officials emphasised that the construction of the Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi section will be a game changer for not only the Konkan Railway but also for the region and the economy of Maharashtra. It will link the coastal region of Maharashtra with Western Maharashtra, lead to development of ports and harbours in the coastal region and allow flow of goods from the hinterland to the coast.
The officials further explained that the future economic growth of Maharashtra depends on connectivity of its coastal areas with the rest of the state and the country.
CMD, Konkan Railway, informed that in order to improve services, of Konkan Railway to more villages and towns in the region, 10 new stations are also being built. The first station will be inaugurated in January 2019.
The Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi line has already been sanctioned by the Railway Ministry. Indian Railways will bear 50% of the cost and rest will be borne by the Government of Maharashtra.