Govt. approves broad gauge conversion project

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New Delhi, Jan 17 (UNI) The government today approved a railway gauge conversion project linking Ratlam, Mhow, Khandwa and Akola at an estimated expenditure of Rs 1421.25 crore.

The 472.64-km project, scheduled to be completed in five years, will provide broad gauge connectivity for carrying foodgrains, oil cakes and cement from Neemuch and Chittorgarh area and various products from the Pithampur Special Economic Zone near Mhow to the southern states.

Briefing reporters on the deliberations at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi said the project would also faciliate movement of military personnel and equipment to and from Mhow Cantonment. Mr Dasmunsi said there existed a meter gauge north-south link between Jaipur and Secunderabad, having a length of 1469 km, which connected major townships like Jaipur, Ajmer and Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, Ratlam, Indore, Mhow and Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, Akola, Purna and Mudkhed in Maharashtra and Manoharbad and Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh.

Out of 1469 kms on this route, 805 kms from Jaipur to Ratlam and Secunderabad to Purna have already been converted to broad gauge. Work on the Akola-Purna section, covering 210 km, is targeted for completion by March this year. In effect, the section from Ratlam to Akola, covering 454 kms, has been approved for gauge conversion.

The minister said Ratlam-Akola broad gauge conversion would restore a shorter and alternative route connecting Seunderabad and Chennai with Jaipur, Ratlam, Indore, Khandwa, Akola and other towns in north-west Rajasthan.

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