Mumbai: Aiming to speed up the work on Pune-Nashik rail link, the Maharashtra government has decided to contribute 50 percent towards the cost of the Rs.1,900 crore project.
Officials said that besides the Pune-Nashik link, the state government will also shell out 50 percent of the project cost for the critical Rs.928-crore Karad-Chiplun rail link.
This would help connect the western Maharashtra and the coastal Konkan region, separated by the Western Ghats.
The decision was taken at the state cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here Wednesday.
Incidentally, the issue had figured prominently during a meeting between Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi and Chavan last week in Mumbai.
"The linking of Western Maharashtra with the coastal Konkan region is essential for the equitable development and industrialization of the region," Chavan said on the occasion.
While the Pune-Nashik line is 265 km long, the Karad-Chiplun link is around 112 km long, mainly passing through the lofty Western Ghats and would afford closer rail access to the strawberry regions comprising Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and other smaller hill stations.
Presently, all the four points - Pune in western Maharashtra, Nashik in northern, Karad in western and Chiplun in Konkan - are connected to Mumbai by different railway routes.
The new railway line will link Pune, the state`s education and culture capital to Nashik, the state`s third largest industrialized region and a major pilgrimage and tourist destination.