The Railway Ministry has granted 'special project' status to the much-awaited new rail line between Wardha and Nanded districts via Yavatmal stretching over 284 kms, a senior official here said.
A communication in this regard has been received by District Collector Sachindra Pratap Singh from Central Railway's Chief Administrative Officer M K Gupta, he said.
The ministry has also granted special status to the Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli-Vaijnath new railway line of 261 kms.
The special status has been granted on the basis of a request made by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
According to Yavatmal Deputy Collector and Land Acquisition Officer of Road Projects Vijay Bhakre, the Chief Minister, on a representation made by Yavatmal MP Bhavana Gawali, sent a representation to the Railway Minister and requested him to allow the state government to go for direct purchase of land required for the project, from land owners.
The CM drew attention of the Railway Minister towards the urgent need for improving the connectivity of this under-developed and farmer suicides-prone area with other parts of the state and requested him to permit the government to acquire the land required for the project through direct purchase policy of Maharashtra, declared on May 12, 2015.
The land admeasuring 722 hectare is required for the new railway line in Yavatmal district of which only 64 hectare has been acquired so far. If the same pace continues, the project cost would increase manifold resulting in delay in construction of the new railway line which is the lifeline of the region totally under-developed, the CM pointed out in his letter to the minister.
"With the new sanction in hand, the acquisition of land for the railway line can be expedited and immediate possession of the land can be achieved," Bhakre said, adding that they intend to complete land acquisition in one year.
"The direct purchase policy would enable the farmers to get competitive price for their land and the Railways can save a lot of amount by avoiding to contest disputes that may arise if we go for the old system of purchase," he said.
Over 14 kms track can be laid immediately in the district out of 180 kms for which the land has already been acquired, he said.
"We have demanded Rs 307 crore for the acquisition of land through direct purchase procedure which is yet to be received," Bhakre further said.
The new railway line stretching between Wardha and Nanded via Yavatmal was a long pending demand of the people. It will pass through six tehsils and 90 villages in Wardha, Yavatmal, Washim, Hingoli and Nanded districts.