Mamtaa Banerjee’s budget has given Maharashtra enough reasons to cheer this year.
She has introduced new lines and a host of new trains to improve connecting within and outside state, approved a gas plant and a pre-feasibility study for the western leg (Delhi-Mumbai) of the Golden Rail Corridor, which is expected to start early next year.
The Rajya Rani Express train, which has been introduced this year, will connect small cities with state capitals. Maharashtra has got such trains, which will run on a daily basis between Sawantawadi Road-Mumbai and Manmad-Mumbai via Nashik. The connectivity with Konkan may also improve as the Railways has announced a feasibility survey to connect Kolhapur to Konkan Railway this year.
The budget has also seen a fair number of trains providing connectivity within the state or connecting cities with other parts of India such as Nagpur-Kolhapur Express via Kurduwadi, Pune-Nanded Express (weekly) via Latur, Tirupati-Amravati Express via Akola, Ranchi-Pune Express via Bilaspur, Mumbai-Chandigarh Express (weekly), Bhuj- Dadar Express will run on bi-weekly basis, Chennai-Shirdi Express via Bangalore on a weekly basis and the Nagpur-Bhusawal Express via Itarsi-Khandwa on a tri-weekly basis.
In a significant move, construction of a new line, in the naxal-affected Wadasa- Gadchiroli area will be taken up this year, along with a host of surveys to check the feasibility of introducing new lines on the Daman-Nashik, Kolhapur-Dharwar, Kolhapur-Rajapur, Nagar-Kalyan, Karad-Belgaum via Nipani, Nashik-Dahanu Road and Daman-Nashik routes.
The minister said the energy consumption of the Railways is growing rapidly and to make the Railways self-sufficient in energy production, a 700MW gas-based power plant in Thakurli in Thane has been proposed.
The budget has also introduced nine new Duronto trains, of which the state has got two. These non-stop trains will run between Ahmedabad-Mumbai and Pune-Ahmedabad on a tri-weekly basis. One Jana Shatabdi train between Pune-Ahmedabad and a double-decker air-conditioned train between Ahmedabad- Mumbai will also be introduced this year.
Banerjee also announced that the pre-feasibility study for the western leg (Delhi-Mumbai) of the Golden Rail Corridor would start early next year.