JAISALMER: Following the spurt in demand for limestone, which saw Jaisalmer station becoming the top revenue earner among stations of the North Western Railway (NWR), the ministry has approved the laying of a new 58.5km-long rail track between Hamira and Sonu for an estimated cost of Rs 262 crore.
The new track is expected to reduce the woes of transporting limestone to steel factories in various parts of the country. The line will also be important for the army and is expected to reduce environmental pollution caused by limestone dust.
Around 50 lakh tonnes of limestone from the mines of Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals limited (RSMM), 40km away from Jaisalmer, are sent to various steel companies in the country. Over 500 trucks transport limestone daily from the mines to Jaisalmer railway station from where it is taken by rail to various places.
This increased transportation cost as well as limestone dust pollution in the area. While the demand to lay a rail line between Sonu and Jaisalmer has been pending for long, the railway ministry has now given the financial approval for the project.
Confirming this, NWR CPRO spokesperson Tarun Jain said the railways had approved the 58.5km line from Thyat Hamira to Sonu and has sanctioned Rs 262 crore for the purpose.
The work on land acquisition has been completed and the tender for the work has also been approved. The project is expected to be completed next year.
Along the route, there will be 62 bridges, three ROBs, nine RUBs as well as a new station, Lanela, between Sonu and Thaiyat Hamira.
Jain said the Jaisalmer station comes first in revenue generation in NWR every year, with 50 lakh tonnes of limestone transported to steel plants in the country, including Bhilai, Durgapur, etc., earning Rs 500 crore in the process.