An MoU for implementation of the new 362-km Indore-Manmad railway line has been signed between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Railways, the Maharashtra Government and the Madhya Pradesh Government.
Earlier, containers and other rail traffic from Indore and other central Indian locations had to follow a circuitous route through Vadodara and Surat to reach Mumbai, Pune and ports like JNPT, travelling a distance of 815 km. The new project will reduce the distance from Mumbai and Pune to key central India locations by 171 km, resulting in lower logistics costs. This is especially significant as the new railway line will pass through the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor nodes of Igatpuri, Nashik and Sinnar; Pune and Khed; and Dhule and Nardana.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari; Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal; Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre; Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan; and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The project will be implemented through the Indian Port Rail Corporation (IPRCL) on a JV SPV model. A JV company will be formed between the Ministry of Shipping or its nominated PSUs or entity, including JNPT (which will be the main promoter), with an equity share of 55 per cent and the Maharashtra government or its nominated PSUs or entity, the Madhya Pradesh government or its nominated PSUs or entity, and others with an equity share of 15 per cent each.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari hailed the signing of the MoU as a major step towards development of backward areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra through which the new railway line will pass.
The project is estimated to result in cumulative net economic benefits of Rs 150 billion in the first 10 years of operation. He further said the logistic advantages of the project include providing a shorter route for passenger and freight traffic originating from, terminating at or crossing through the region.
Indeed, the project will reduce logistics cost for cargo centres located in Northern India such as Lucknow, Agra, Gwalior and Kanpur belt as well as the Indore-Dhule-Bhopal region to the gateway ports of JNPT and Mumbai. It will provide an alternate route to the existing central and western railway lines and reduce congestion on the over-utilised existing railway network. Gadkari also said the project will help generate employment and reduce pollution, fuel consumption and vehicle operating costs. The project will be constructed within six years.