RAIL­WAY OF­FI­CIAL

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY -

Nagpur: Even as protests against up­grade of the rail­way line through Mel­ghat Tiger Re­serve (MTR) are yet to die down, the Cen­tral Rail­way (CR) has ap­proved a pro­posal for a new 77km line be­tween Ka­tol and Wardha. If con­structed with­out any mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures, the line will cut Bor Tiger Re­serve (BTR) into two parts.

With 139sqkm core area, Bor is the coun­try’s small­est tiger re­serve with pres­ence of seven tigers and over 200 bird species, and hun­dreds of her­bi­vores. The tiger re­serve’s buf­fer comes to 670sqkm and the rail­way line, if al­lowed with­out any mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures, would spell doom for wildlife and ecol­ogy, and shat­ter source pop­u­la­tion of big cats.

The cor­ri­dors con­nect­ing Bor to other forests have al­ready been cut by four-lan­ing of roads in cor­ri­dor patches of Bazargaon-Kond­hali-Tale­gaon (NH6), Nagpur-Chan­dra­pur (NH7) and Buti­bori-Wardha and Hingni-Selu state high­ways.

“Now, Nagpur-Mumbai Sam­rud­dhi Ex­press­way is in the pipe­line, where MSRDC freight cor­ri­dors (DFCs). The new line falls in the North-South DFC (2,173km) from Delhi to Chennai, which was ap­proved in 2018.

“The need for a new line is be­ing felt now due to new pas­sen­ger and freight trains. There is huge con­ges­tion be­tween Nagpur and Wardha (79km). The Nagpur CR han­dles at least 220 mail/ex­press and freight trains, and car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of tracks has ex­ceeded 180% now,” said rail­way of­fi­cials.

The rail­way dis­tance be­tween Ka­tol and Wardha is 139km. If the 77km new line is laid, the rail­ways will save on time and money for 62km and there will be faster train move­ment as freight trains will by­pass Nagpur and land straight at Se­va­gram be­fore head­ing to­wards south.

This will also pave the way for smooth train move­ment be­tween Itarsi and Wardha via Nagpur.

“On a daily ba­sis, the CR here re­ceives at least 18 freight trains from Itarsi-end and dis­patches 15 trains. De­spite the third and fourth lines be­tween Nagpur and Wardha, the new line will be needed for fu­ture re­quire­ment of grow­ing cities and towns,” rail­way of­fi­cials said.

Vi­jay.Pin­jarkar

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