Madhya Pradesh government’s efforts towards rapid industrialisation of the state have been hampered by poor rail connectivity, say experts. Industrial areas like Pithampur and Sidhi are yet to see a railway line despite projects being sanctioned many years ago.
Poor rail connectivity has increased the time and cost of transportation for the exporters. “Absence of rail connectivity remains a major hurdle in industrial growth. Indore-Dahod and Indore-Dhar-Chhota Udepur rail projects are running way behind schedule,” Pithampur Industry Association president Gautam Kothari said.
Poor connectivity to ports from Pithampur has always been a constraint for exporters. Transportation time and cost had always been a negative part for SEZ Pithampur, say experts. At present, the goods meant for exports are sent to Mumbai ports mostly by road. The transportation of goods by rail is done via Ratlam thereby increasing the time and costs. “Looking at the present development and future prospects, Pithampur needs attention of both central and state governments for rail network and investment zone development,” Kothari said.
The 210-km Indore-Dahod and 157-km Dhar-Chhota Udepurr rail line was to be built at a cost Rs 1,286 crore. The Indore-Dahod rail track was to provide an alternative route from Delhi to Mumbai via Dahod, Dhar, Dewas, Maksi, Shivpuri, Gwalior and Mathura while Chhota Udepur-Dhar rail line on the Mumbai-Delhi trunk route was to link Indore, Pithampur, Dhar and Alirajpur. Experts say there is also an urgent need to begin Indore-Manmad and Dhar-Maksi-Dahod line.
When contacted, a Western Railway official, who did not wish to be named, said that projects have been moving at a slow pace due to funding and land acquisition related problems. The slow pace of rail projects will also have an impact on the future projects. The materialisation of a multimodal logistic hub at Pithampur as part of Pithampur-Dhar-Mhow investment node under DMIC (Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor) project will depend to a large extent on the Indian Railways, says a study. A report prepared by the DMIC Development Corporation appointed consultant states that several proposed and ongoing rail projects have to be completed for smooth connectivity.
Chhota Udepur-Dhar rail line project (was expected to complete by 2011-12, but delayed due to land acquisition and funding issues)
Dahod-Indore rail line project (delayed due to land acquisition issues).
Mhow-Manmad rail line project (proposed).