MUMBAI: Suresh Prabhu is no more the railway minister as he moved out 11 months ago to the ministries of commerce & industry and civil aviation and yet he takes keen interest in the railway projects he had cleared during his tenure. One such project is the construction of 103-km Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi section of the Konkan Railway.
A meeting chaired by Suresh Prabhu here decided to start work on this section soon. Present Railway Minister Piyush Goyal did not attend the meeting but those present included the Railway Board chairman, the Konkan Railway Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) and other officials. Work on the 103 km Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi section of the Konkan Railway will begin soon. This decision was taken at a review meeting of Konkan Corporation Limited (KRCL) chaired by the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation. The meeting on Tuesday was attended by the Chairman, Railway Board, Chairman and Managing director, KRCL and other senior officials.
The Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi line has already been sanctioned by the Railway Ministry. Indian Railways will bear 50% of the cost and the rest will be borne by the Government of Maharashtra.
During the discussions the Minister said that the construction of the 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 and allow flow of goods from the hinterland to the coast, he said.
Mr. Prabhu also said that the construction of the line will facilitate the movement of petroleum from the world’s largest integrated refinery cum petrochemicals complexes being built near Vaibhavwadi in Ratnagiri district, in the Konkan region of Maharashtra.
The $40 billion mega refinery is being built by IOC, BPCL and HPCL and is expected to be commissioned by 2022. It will have a capacity of 60 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA), a press release issued by Press information Bureau on Thursday said.
The Minister further said that future economic growth of Maharashtra depends on the connectivity of its coastal areas with the rest of the state and the country.
Konkan Railway adds 10 new stations
KRCL officials told the Minister that in order to improve services, Konkan Railway is proposing to connect more villages and towns in the region and 10 new stations are being built. The first of these will be inaugurated in January 2019.
The Indian Railways and the Maharashtra Government are to share the cost of the project 50:50 that was cleared for construction subsequent to completion of the survey. The Konkan Railway CMD said ten new stations are being set up to connect more villages and towns in the station. The first station is to be inaugurated next January.
During the discussions, Prabhu said the new rail line from Kolhapur to Vaibhavwadi road will provide a link of the coastal region with the western Maharashtra, leading to development of ports and harbours in the state’s coastal region that will facilitate flow of goods from hinterland to the coast and vice versa.
The new line will have full load of freight in the form of petrol and diesel to be moved from the world’s largest integrated refinery cum petrochemicals complex being built near Vaibhavwadi in Ratnagiri district with an annual capacity of 60 million tonnes, Prabhu underlined. The US$40billion mega refinery being built jointly by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) with BPCL and HPCL is to be commissioned by 2022.
The Minister 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 and the new rail line will play an important role in this regard.
Besides Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi rail line, two other lines to be built by the Konkan Railway include 127.88-km Karad-Chiplun section.
The Konkan Railway also proposes to have a new station at Digni between Ratnagiri and Chiplun and connect it to Jaigarh Port section. Also under construction in Goa near Madgaon is the new Sarzora railway station.
KR’s ten new stoppages
1.Indapur, 2.Goregaon, 3.Sape Wamane, 4.Kalbani, 5.Kadwai, 6.Werawali, 7.Kharepatan, 8.Achirne, 9.Mirjan, 10.Inanje