The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved doubling of Daund-Manmad railway line for promoting speedy, reliable and safe service in Maharashtra, especially for the pilgrims going to the famous destinations of Shirdi and Shani-Shignapur.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Daund-Manmad doubling project of 247.5 km.
The estimated cost of the project will be Rs. 2, 081.27 crore and completion cost of Rs. 2,330.51 crore with five percent escalation per annum. The project is likely to be completed in next five years by 2021-22.
Doubling of this section, would not only speed up the operation of goods and coaching trains, but will also provide additional capacity for meeting future increase in traffic allowing for faster and reliable service and minimum delays.
This measure will greatly ease passenger and freight traffic and decongest the Daund-Manmad route, which is a critical section for trains from North India to South India via Pune and for pilgrims going to the famous pilgrimage destinations of Shirdi and Shani-Shignapur. It will also ease the congestion in Mumbai by diverting the trains to this route.
It will also help improve safety by allowing for more time for maintenance blocks.
Moreover, defence and security of India will be strengthened through improved connectivity as
Ahmednagar is a major tank base of Southern Command, Indian Army.
Doubling will also promote economic activity in and around the Daund-Manmad route, as industries will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. Further, doubling will promote rail tourism as it would improve connectivity to Shirdi and Shani- Shignapur and ease pilgrimage traffic, as the site attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.
The project will also generate direct employment during construction for about 59.40 lakh mandays. Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts of Maharashtra will be directly benefited through this project.The line capacity utilisation of Daund-Manmad section during the year 2014-15 was 156 percent with maintenance block. The doubling of Bhigwan-Mohol, Hotgi-Gulbarga on Mumbai-Chennai main route is in progress and once completed, there will be tremendous increase in traffic over the Daund-Manmad section. Thus, an existing single line will not be in a position to deal with the increased traffic and make this section a bottleneck, as capacity utilisation has already reached saturation. Therefore, doubling between Daund-Manmad section is necessary.