Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday announced a slew of projects for western Madhya Pradesh in his budget.
Though Prabhu did not announce any new trains for the state or increase the frequency of existing trains, he sanctioned two new railway lines, one between Indore and Manmad via Malegaon and another between Indore and Jabalpur. The railway budget has allocated Rs 4,325 crore for the state for 2016-17, which is up by 23% compared to 2015-16.
The minister also sanctioned the doubling of tracks on the Indore-Dewas-Ujjain railway line.
The 368-km Indore-Manmad railway line will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 9,968 crores and the project will be jointly implemented by the Madhya Pradesh government and the railways.
The 342-km Indore-Jabalpur line, estimated to cost Rs 4,320 crore will also be implemented in partnership with the state government.
The new line on the 80-km Indore-Dewas-Ujjain section is estimated to cost Rs 700 crore and the railway ministry has allocated Rs 271 crore for the project in the budget.
Two major ongoing rail line projects, including Indore-Dahod and Chhota Udepur-Dhar have received fund allocation of Rs 100 crore and Rs 200 crore respectively.
“Given the available resources, it’s one of the best budgets in recent times,” said Nagesh Namjoshi of the zonal railway users’ consultative committee.
“The sanctioned projects will change the face of the region once they are implemented,” he said.
Gautam Kothari, president of Pithampur industry association, however, said that the railway minister should have given priority to bankable projects in the state as most ongoing projects pass through tribal belts and have low rate of return.
“The Rs 100 crore allocated for the ongoing Indore-Dahod railway line project is too little,” he said.
“Focus should be given to complete the Chhota Udepur-Dhar line as it is shorter.”
The railway minister has also sanctioned gauge conversion for the 20-km Ujjain-Fatehabad railway line, which is estimated to cost Rs 120 crore. The budget has also allocated Rs 100 crore for the ongoing Ratlam-Mhow-Khandwa-Akola gauge conversion work.
Three road over-bridges on the Indore-Dewas-Ujjain road and one on the Laxmibai Nagar-Indore-Dewas-Ujjain road have been sanctioned. The budget has sanctioned the doubling of the Nagda-Ujjain Gambhir railway bridge at an estimated cost of Rs 31.29 crore.