The Centre has allocated funds to strengthen the existing rail network under Guntur division. Meanwhile, the railway board has added the doubling of Guntur-Bibi Nagar project to its list of priorities by listing it in the pink book, which registers projects to be taken up across the country. The projects listed in the pink book get automatic clearance from the finance ministry. The doubling of Guntur-Bibi Nagar would help both Guntur and Vijayawada divisions get more new trains as it will improve connectivity with Hyderabad and other metro cities.
The railway board has granted permission for the final survey of the railway line and is likely to begin allocation of funds after getting the location survey report. The 248-km long second line to connect Guntur with Hyderabad is expected to cost Rs 2,500 crore. Many of the trains running between Guntur and Hyderabad usually take nearly six-eight hours because it is a single-line track.
Since many of the major cement plants are located near Nadikudi and Miryalaguda stations in Guntur division, freight movement also gets affected due to the single-line track. The double lining of Guntur-Bibi Nagar would help the entire South Central Railway (SCR) reap rich dividends by operating more trains to facilitate the freight movement. This is also expected to help upland areas of Guntur and Krishna districts get more industries.
In another significant move, the finance ministry spared nearly Rs 1,198 crore for ongoing Nadikudi-Srikalahasthi new railway project. The 308-km long project is expected to cost around Rs 3,500 crore. The Nadikudi-Srikalahasthi project is already in the Prime Minister’s priority projects list and has been getting funds from the Centre. The first phase of the project between New Piduguralla and Savalyapuram stations in Guntur districts is nearing completion and expected to begin operating by March.
Fresh allocation of budget will put the second phase of works, which passes through the most under-developed region of Prakasam and Nellore districts, on the fast track. Meanwhile, Centre seems to have junked the dream Amaravati rail line project. Although, the railway board had given its green signal to the first-phase of the rail project about two years ago, the then TDP government had failed to put it on fast track that has made the Centre to put it on the backburner.