Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi may get port connect

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Kolhapur: In what could give a major boost to trade in the region, the Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi railway line, announced during the railway budget on February 25, may be connected to Vijaydurg port on the Konkan coast.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday that he will follow up on the proposed Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi railway line to be connected with Vijaydurg port.

"The Indian Railways is keen on connecting ports with railway lines to generate more income as well employment at various levels. As part of this, the proposed Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi line will extended till Vijaydurg port to facilitate transportation of goods," said the minister in Kankavali.

Prabhu has said that he is keen on forming a joint venture with a private company for undertaking the entire project. "We are keen on the participation of a private company in these projects to increase the speed of the work. The Karad-Chiplun railway line announced in the previous budget will connect Jaigarh port with Karad," said Prabhu.

This sets aside the anticipated Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi connection with Jaigarh port.

During the presentation of the railway budget on February 25, the minister had announced the construction of a fresh railway line between Kolhapur and Vaibhavwadi, a station on the Konkan Railway's route.

Prabhu had further mentioned that funds for such projects will be raised through extra budgetary resources, which means that the railway ministry will be inviting private parties to invest.

A memorandum of understanding on similar lines has been already signed between Jaigarh Port Limited and Konkan Railway for the construction of a railway line connecting the port with Dingni railway station. Jaigarh port will be investing Rs 770 crore in the project.

Sources close to the development confirmed that the railway ministry is searching for similar private partners for the Kolhapur-Vaibhavwadi railway line till Vijaydurg port.

Siddheshwar Telugu, chief public relations officer of the Konkan Railway, said, "Prabhu has underscored the mandate of the railway ministry to provide rail connectivity to every port. This is not only a service, but also a huge business opportunity since costs are low while the capacity is high in both modes of transportation. There have been no specific instruction to the Konkan Railway about laying a railway line to Vijaydurg port, but we can do it if the ministry asks us to. At present, we will be starting work on doubling a 47km long stretch as phase I of the work between Roha in Maharashtra to Thokur in Karnataka."

Meanwhile, Prabhu has also said that the Indian Railways has decided to implement the Konkan Railway's Ro-Ro service - where trucks carrying goods are transported via rail to distant locations - across the country. The roll-on roll-off service transports trucks via rail route to far-off locations from where the vehicles go on to supply goods to nearby locations. The successful service has resulted in massive savings on transportation for operators and also helped the coffers of the Indian Railways.
Vijaydurg is a minor port as per the Union ministry of shipping. It is an all-weather port which handles agriculture as well industrial cargo of Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur districts.
 Sources close to Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that Vijaydurg is being handled by a private company. The Centre has also asked other private players to invest in ports since the government has been promoting the privatization of ports aiming to boost revenue.

Source: TOI

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