After detailed study, Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s MP government has approved the Mhow-Manmad railway line project. Upon completion, the distance from Indore to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai will be reduced by 150 km and the journey will be covered in nine hours. As of now, the existing distance between Indore and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust is estimated to be around 815 km, with the route going through major cities like Indore, Vadodara and Surat.
The total cost of this project is pegged at Rs 8,931 crore. The equity part of the Rs 408.64 crore (which is 15 per cent of the total cost) will be given in four years by the state government. An MoU was signed between JNPT- Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Railways and the governments of Maharashtra and MP on August 28, 2018, in this regard.
The project will pass through key points on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor including Igatpuri, Nashik, Sinnar, Pune, Khed, Dhule and Nandana. This project will also serve as an alternate route to the existing central and western railway lines, and, thus, will help in reducing congestion on the already over-burdened existing railway network. Also, it will help in employment generation and address environmental concerns through reduction in pollution, fuel consumption as well as vehicle operating costs.
The proposed railway line can also connect and help develop the landlocked industrial hubs of Indore and Manmad in Maharashtra which then can also be further connected to the already existing Delhi-Bengaluru and Delhi-Chennai lines which will also bring down travel time and distance. The passengers will also find an alternate route to South India. The new railway line will also help in the development of backward, tribal areas of MP and Maharashtra. This railway route will also reduce the distances of Pune, Chennai and Bengaluru from Indore.
The implementation of the project will be performed through the Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL) on the Joint Venture SPV model. A Joint Venture Company will be formed between Ministry of Shipping or its nominated PSUs/Entity including JNPT (which will be the main promoter) with an equity share of 55 per cent, the government of Maharashtra or its nominated PSUs/Entity, government of Madhya Pradesh or its nominated PSUs/Entity and others with equity share of 15 per cent each.
The project will be completed within six years. The Union government had committed to fund 50 per cent cost of the project which amounts to Rs 4,900 crore.
Connectivity of the Indore region with Mumbai has been a longstanding concern for industries based in Madhya Pradesh (MP). There has been a demand for an infrastructure project which can reduce the time taken to cover the distance. The government of Madhya Pradesh thought an alternate path through Nashik could reduce travel time for passengers and freight.