The much-awaited Nagpur-Nagbhid railway line project is set to begin from February end. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Nagpur, will start the work along with unveiling the Nagpur Metro. The proposal of converting the 106-kilometre-long narrow gauge Nagpur-Nagbhid line to broad gauge is pending for a long.
In this year’s Railway budget sufficient provision was made for this project, which is expected to cost Rs.1400 crore to the Centre’s exchequer. There are 15 main stations between Nagpur and Nagbhid. This included – Itwari, Bhandwadi, Umred, Bhivapur, Kanatempa, Bamni, etc. Farmers from these areas had to come to Nagpur frequently. Due to poor railway connectivity, they had to take road route, which proves costly.
The narrow gauge train remains packed and passengers had to travel hanging at the gate of bogies. The State government and Railways have jointly formed a company – Maharashtra Infrastructure Development Rail Corporation to complete this project. In the first phase Rs.100 crore has been deposited in company’s account to start the project, which will be completed with the help of PPP model. State government and Railways share will be 20-20 pc while remaining 60 percent will be generated through PPP and other sources.
The proposal was first announced in 2012. Then its estimated cost was Rs.350 crore. The State government was supposed to give Rs.188 crore for this project. The first installment of Rs.50 lakh was also cleared but the project never took off. In 2015 Railway Board decided to convert the line along with electrification. Due to inordinate delay the project cost has zoomed to Rs.1400 crore.