Hyderabad: The largely ignored ‘last-mile projects’, which connect remote areas through rail network have been brought into focus, courtesy the railway budget-2016, tabled in Parliament on Thursday. Among the crucial last-mile projects are Peddapalli-Karimnagar-Nizamabad in Telangana and the Nandyala-Yerraguntla project in Andhra Pradesh, which have received substantial allocations and are expected to be completed this year.
Experts point out that the focus on these projects will substantially improve economic conditions of the corresponding regions. The Peddapalli project, for example, has many granite quarries adjacent to it and will give a boost to mining activity, apart from providing direct connectivity to remote stations like Jagityal, Kothapalli and Morthad to Secunderabad, New Delhi and Mumbai.
Similarly, the Nandyal-Yerraguntla new line is expected to boost cement industry in AP, apart from cutting down on transportation cost, as it will serve as an alternative line to the existing Renigunta line. It will cut short the travel distance by nearly half.
While railway projects are given preference on the basis of ‘socially desirable’, ‘financially viable’ or ‘important for defence’, these two projects are both financially viable as well as socially desi rable (for connecting backward areas), experts say.
“Each year line surveys are announced without fund allocation, which leads to piling up of unnecessary projects.
Also over the years, many unnecessary projects in Bihar and West Bengal got preference over such crucial projects and therefore this focus is a good thing,” said T Stanley Babu, retired General Manager, South Central Railway.
“These two projects are financially justified with adequate traffic as well as will cut down travel distance substantially and help in faster movement of goods,” the official added.
The Peddapalli-Karimnagar-Nizamabad line will link Mumbai to New Delhi and will become an alternate route. Currently, a large number of people from Karimnagar work in Surat, Bhiwandi etc.
The link will provide an economical transport facility to connect them to the business hubs. At present, the entire transportation of goods on both these routes is done by road, which means a long journey period of three to four days from either place to the business hubs in the sector.
“Completion of these two lines will not only result in saving national resources like petrol or diesel consumption as well as travel time, as transportation cost will be reduced by at least 50 per cent,” said V Anil Reddy, president, Ftapcci (Federation of Telangana and AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry).