Railways gives go-ahead to Pune-Nashik route

It took 16 years of follow-up by different agencies and people’s representatives for the government to sanction the works of the Pune-Nashik and Manmad-Indore railway routes.
Local MPs Sameer Bhujbal, Harishchandra Chavan and Pratap Sonawane along with Nashik Rail Parishad had made concerted efforts to press for the long-pending demand of these routes.

Pune-Nashik route

Three surveys of the Pune-Nashik route had projected the project as deficit venture.
However, a feasibility report presented by MP Bhujbal converted the -2.84% deficit project into +4.11 positive project. The earlier report had considered the 2001 population, the new report considered the 2011 population.

The new report also suggested that the private project of the Nashik-Sinnar railway route being prepared to carry coal for power generation for the SEZ project in Sinnar can be further extended. It also mentioned the linking of proposed international airport and industrial hub at Chakan, proposed SEZ at Rajgurunagar, air and sea cargo at Ojhar, Odha terminus and the agricultural trade from Ahmednagar and Nashik region will only benefit the railways.

The earlier route mentioned in the report was Pune–Begdewadi, whereas the new report mentions route covering Pune, Chakan, Rajgurunagar, Sangamner, Sinnar and Nashik. The total route is 262 kms and the projected cost is Rs1,899.64 crore. The Maharashtra government is ready to bear 50% cost of the project. Out of the 262 kms, 30 km-Nashik-Sinnar cost is borne by the private project and 30 km-Dehuroad Pune route is already existing.

The Pune-Nashik railway route will reduce the distance by about four hours. Presently, it takes nearly 6 hours to reach Pune by road and the proposed railway route reduces the distance to two hours. It will also benefit many tourist destinations along the route like Shivneri in Junnar, Aari telescope, Jyotirlinga at Bhimashankar, Ashtavinayak at Lenyadri and Jain Mandir at Pabal.

Manmad-Indore route
The Manmad-Indore railway route is an age-old demand. The route passes through Manmad, Malegaon, Dhule, Nardana, Shirpur, Sendhwa, Dhamnod, Mhow and Indore and entails cost of Rs1,600 crores. The Central government will bear 50% of the cost while governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh will bear 25% each. The route will also be a corridor connecting north with south India.

MPs met PM
After the recent railway budget disappointed the people in the region, MPs from Nashik region, cutting across party lines, met the prime minister under the leadership of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar. Later, railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced sanctioning of work to begin for the two routes in the supplementary to budget in the Parliament on March 13, 2013.

“This is the success of the people of Nashik,” Bhujbal said. Chavan said, “The two projects will benefit the region.”

Rail Parishad president Bipin Gandhi said, “The government should now think about Nashik road railway terminus and Nashik–Wadivhare-Nashik line without bunker”.