Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee sanctioned many long-pending projects for Maharashtra and announced several new trains to increase connectivity within the state and to other parts of India.
She also said her ministry had brought into force the decision to have railway recruitment exam papers in local languages.
The Railway Budget Banerjee presented on Wednesday approved the feasibility study for a Dahanu Road-Nashik and a Belgaum-Sawantwadi line, completing the lines between Lonad and Phalton in Baramati and converting the Pandharpur-Miraj section to run main line trains.
The proposed high-speed Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail corridor received a boost with the formation of a separate body to look after its completion. The project envisages trains running at speeds of 250 kmh to 300 kmh.
A wagon repair unit was proposed in Badnera in backward Vidarbha and a water bottling plant at Nashik. Banerjee also announced connectivity plans for Ramtek-Gotegaon, Jalna-Khamgaon, Wardha-Katol and Dhule-Amalner.
The farmer-oriented Kisan Vikas Project will be started at Nashik to help farmers transport produce easily. Banerjee also proposed public-private partnerships for connectivity to the ports of Rewas, Dharamtar and Dighi in Maharashtra.
The long-pending Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli-Vaijanath project link, to be built with the help of the state government, was also approved.
Banerjee also announced a new Duranto express between Pune and Howrah and new trains on the Kolhapur-Solapur, Jaipur-Pune, Nanded-Bangalore and Pune-Ernakulam routes. Some trains have been extended, giving direct connectivity between Vijaywada and Shirdi, Secunderabad and Shirdi, Sangli and Kolhapur, Pune and Baramati, and Pune-Parli-Pandharpur.
Besides this, there would be station upgrades at Miraj, Nashik Road, Parbhani, Purna, Sangli and Solapur. Stations at Aurangabad, Gondia, Miraj, Shegaon and Wardha would be developed as multi-functional complexes with malls, offices, etc, like the ones in Navi Mumbai.