Karad - Chiplun Railway link?

In a new development, the Central Railways is exploring the feasibility of a broad gauge rail link between Karad and Chiplun over a distance of 90 km.The railway authorities said the approximate cost of the survey will be Rs 44 lakh and the work will be completed in around six months.While Karad is on the Pune-Kolhapur section of the Central Railways, Chiplun falls on the Konkan Railway route. As and when it gets completed, the route will link destinations like Pune and Kolhapur to the Konkan region, Goa and the southern states of Karnataka and Kerala. Much of the 90-km stretch of the proposed rail link, which will run along the river Koyna, will pass through a hilly terrain for which tunnelling work will need to be done. A five-km stretch of the proposed route will pass through farm lands, while much of the remaining area is forest land. Notably, a group of engineering college students in Karad had suggested two possible rail links — one between Kolhapur and Ratnagiri, the other between Karad and Chiplun. It is the second alternative that the railway authorities are considering.Incidentally, Shriniwas Patil, MP from Karad, is keen to have the rail link and it is in response to his suggestion that the survey work is being initiated. Patil said he had submitted the proposition to the railways around two years back. “This is the best possible route to link the Satara-Karad-Pune-Kolhapur regions to the Konkan areas. The survey work has been proposed in the 2007-08 Railway Budget”, he said. According to observers, a number of new ports would be coming up near Chiplun for which too the rail link will be beneficial. The completion of the Karad-Chiplun link and the Baramati-Lonand link is important, because if this happens then trains coming from the north will be able to reach Konkan and other southern states faster by the Manmad-Daund-Baramati route. Work on the Baramati-Lonand line is already in progress. It may be noted that Pune had hoped for a direct link to the Konkan when, in 1995-96, the railways had conducted a survey for a rail link between Chinchwad and Roha, a distance of 95-kms. Although the survey report has been finalised for that route, there is no official word on whether or not the broad gauge line is feasible there.

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