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.