Cabinet nod for ₹2,798cr Taranga Hill-Abu rail line

The Union Cabinet approved construction of a new 117-km railway line connecting Taranga Hill-Ambaji-Abu Road in Gujarat and Rajasthan at an estimated cost of Rs 2,798 crore.

This is a major infrastructure project plan which has been prepared in barely 3-4 months using the GatiShakti platform — the integrated infrastructure planning framework the government had launched exactly eight months back.

Sources said usually preparation of such a plan takes around 6-8 months and requires a lot of field surveys. But because of the data and information available on the GatiShakti platform, the time period reduced drastically. The government aims to complete the project by 2026-27.

Ambaji is a famous pilgrimage destination and is one of the 51 shaktipeeths in India. It will also cater to the needs of devotees visiting the Ajitnath Jain temple — one of the 24 holy Jain Tirthankaras — at Taranga Hill.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the project will boost connectivity and further economic progress. He added it fulfils a long standing demand of improving access to Ambaji. In a tweet, Union home minister Amit Shah said the new railway line will prove beneficial for devotees and will accelerate development in the region. “Prime Minister Modi has put sustained efforts for rejuvenation of our old pilgrim sites and to provide best facilities to devotees. It’s a big day for people of Gujarat,” he said.

Officials said meticulous planning based on the actual data and details will help the railways to complete the single track project within the stipulated time. “We will soon float tenders. All details are available including how many trees will have to be cut or transplanted for this project and the exact requirement of land. The new framework has transformed the planning as we have all authentic data and details on this platform,” said a senior railway official. Each government agency has uploaded details of their assets and land records on the central database.

Sources said the alignment of the line has been finalised based on the GatiShakti data and the railways avoided planning the track through forest areas. Union home minister Amit Shah, chief minister Bhupendra Patel and state BJP president C R Paatil thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the new railway project.

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