Nashik district administration asks Central Railway to acquire land for Kumbh Mela

Nashik: The Nashik district administration has asked Central Railway authorities to consider acquisition of land reserved for it by the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC).

“Central Railways has presented a Rs 25-crore development plan for Kumbh Mela that pertains to the development of passenger amenities. The district administration has asked the railways to consider buying out the land reserved by the NMC for ‘Railways and allied activities’, on the southeast end of Nashik station,” a senior official from the Nashik district collectorate said.

The high-power committee (HPC) on Kumbh Mela has already assured the Central Railways of bearing 50 per cent of the developmental costs for raising railway infrastructure to accommodate Kumbh traffic in 2015-’16.

The 13.58-acre land, for which the NMC had quoted a price of Rs.16.23 crore in September 2012, will further help the railways construct more platforms to boost transport of agricultural produce, apart from handling the Kumbh rush.

Referring to the visit by Nashik district officials on Saturday, railway officials said that the current plan related to Kumbh Mela does not take into account the land acquisition proposal and that it was included in the Rs 42-crore proposal that was sent to the state earlier. “Since the land acquisition is not a priority, it was excluded. We are now waiting for a letter from the state government with the assurance to share fifty per cent of the expenses for work related to the Kumbh Mela,” railway officials said.

Revenue officials pointed out that the letter from the HPC will only be available after the apex committee on Kumbh Mela, headed by the chief minister, meets and agrees on the entire proposal. “The administration has requested railway officials to club the works amounting to Rs 12.5 crore to be carried out by the railways, whose expenses will be footed by the state, in the condition that the railways undertake developmental work of Rs 25 crore in all,” a Nashik revenue department official said.

The work proposed for the Kumbh Mela include widening of the foot overbridge, construction of passenger waiting areas and booking offices. Railways officials have in the past made it clear that the railways will not need any piece of land for any kind of development at Nashik.

“All passenger amenities that are expected at railway stations the size of Nashik Road are in place. There is no need for any kind of land acquisition. The railways have no proposal for construction of a terminus at Nashik Road,” Mahesh Gupta, Divisional Railway Manager, said.