Rail line projects chug along at snail’s pace in MP’s tribal belt
Even 69 years after Independence, the tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh doesn’t figure on India’s railway map. So, people of the region will have to wait for another few years as two major rail line projects -- Indore-Dahod and Dhar-Chhota Udepur -- have been held up due to delay in land acquisition and other factors.indore Updated: Sep 02, 2016 11:32 IST
Even 69 years after Independence, the tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh doesn’t figure on India’s railway map. So, people of the region will have to wait for another few years as two major rail line projects -- Indore-Dahod and Dhar-Chhota Udepur -- have been held up due to delay in land acquisition and other factors.
Sources in the Western Railway say the date of completion of the 202-km Indore-Dahod rail line has now been pushed back to 2020-21 as building tunnels over five kilometres would be time consuming. As a result, the project cost has escalated from Rs 642 crore to Rs 1,750 crore.
Industries in the Pithampur area are also waiting eagerly for the new rail link that would reduce the distance between Mumbai and Indore by more than 200 km.
At present, due to the lack of connectivity, freight is being transported to Ratlam by road and then to other destinations via train. Poor connectivity to ports from Pithampur has always remained a constraint for exporters.
“The industries will immensely benefit from the new link as well as from the Indore-Manmad project. On an average, about 250-300 containers are being ferried to Ratlam every day by trucks and so one can imagine the revenue that can be saved by the industries,” said Gautam Kothari, president of the Pithampur Industrial Association.
Expert and former member of the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee Nagesh Namjoshi said, “If the Indore-Dahod line is laid, Western Railway can carry 3-4 rakes every day from Pithampur and the revenue earned will amount to crores in a month.”
The present status is that out of the 202 km, only 50 km of the line has been laid. The 35-km Indore-Tihi line has been completed and in Gujarat, the 15-km Dahod-Katwada line is complete.
Land acquisition for Katwada-Pitol is under process and is likely to be over by March 2017. The railways will also issue tenders for overbridges and other infrastructure by January 2017.
The 157-km long Dhar-Chhota Udepur rail line, which was to link Indore, Pithampur, Dhar and Alirajpur, is also running behind schedule. Experts say there is also an urgent need to begin Indore-Manmad line.
When contacted, Western Railway general manager GC Agrawal said the projects have been expedited despite the initial delay in land acquisition; however, the topography remains a challenge.
ON-GOING RAILWAY PROJECTS
Indore-Dahod rail line project. (Expected to be completed by 2013, but delayed due to land acquisition issues)
Dhar-Chhota Udepur rail line project (Expected to complete by 2012, but delayed due to land acquisition and funding problems)
Mhow-Manmad rail line project (Sanctioned but agreement signed between the Centre and the state government pending)