Doubling of the 111-km railway line between Rajkot and Kanalus in Gujarat's Jamnagar and Saurashtra region will create new economic possibilities and improve passenger facilities, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday. The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved doubling of Rajkot-Kanalus (111 km) and Neemuch-Ratlam (134 km) railway lines at estimated costs of Rs 1,080 crore and Rs 1,096 crore, respectively, which will be completed in three years, Vaishnaw told reporters here via video-conferencing.
The Railways will for the first time introduce engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) contract for the two projects on a pilot basis, he said. "The project of doubling of Rajkot-Kanalus railway line will create new economic possibilities in Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Sikka, Okha and Jamnagar, with heavy industrialisation, ports and cultural values. People will get better facilities with these projects," Vaishnaw said.
The single railway line is currently running at 157 per cent capacity, with 30 pairs of passenger trains and eight pairs of goods trains, and the track is saturated, he said. "With doubling, the track capacity will increase, and we will be able to provide more services in the region," the minister said. The railway line between Rajkot and Kanalus currently handles goods traffic comprising coal, cement, fertiliser and food grains. With the doubling, it projects substantial goods traffic from big industries such as Reliance Petroleum, ESSAR Oil and Tata Chemicals, a government release said. "The projects will be constructed under EPC, which means, first the entire detailing of the project will be completed regarding layouts, designing and how it will be executed. Thereafter, an EPC contract will be issued, unlike the conventional method, under which designing is done as work progresses," said Vaishnaw, who also holds the portfolio of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology. "We are experimenting (with EPC contract) in these two projects. If we succeed in these two projects, it will be easier to replicate this across the country. I am happy that Rajkot-Kanalus and Ratlam-Neemuch lines will begin a new chapter for the Railways," the minister said.
The doubling of 134-km Neemuch-Ratlam railway line in Madhya Pradesh neighbouring Gujarat at an investment of Rs 1,096 crore will provide new pace to industrial activity, and many more possibilities will emerge in the area, he said. Meanwhile, Vaishnaw said that the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project is underway and the first train in Surat and Bilimora section will run in 2026. "Some problems are arising (in land acquisition), and I have requested the chief minister (of Maharashtra) and I believe the issues will be resolved soon." the minister added.