Khandwa: The ministry had approved gauge conversion work of Indore-Mhow-Khandwa railway tracks in the year 2008. Under the project, the conversion work on metre gauge tracks of 472 kilometre stretching from Ratlam to Akola should have been completed by 2013. But, to one’s wonder, it’s been about four years since the deadline is passed and the project is yet to be completed; thanks to the reluctance of railway officials.

During the days of Congress-led UPA government, a power plant in village Selda Bediyal region near Sanawad was also proposed to facilitate the conversion project. NTPC had even handed over a cheque of Rs 487 crore (vide ICICI Bank cheque no. 058770) to Western Railway towards the same on March 26, 2015. Despite getting the fund, the concerned parties— Ratlam rail division and Western Railway, Mumbai— did not make a little progress in the gauge conversion work.

According to a RTI query shared by Manoj Soni of Janmanch, a social organisation of Khandwa, in addition to Rs 487 crore given by NTPC the concerned authorities for the project received Rs 30 crore in 2011-12, Rs 35 crore in 2012-13, Rs 119 crore in 2013-14, Rs 90 crore in 2014-15, Rs 400 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 250 crore in 2016-17. These amounts are additional.

On being asked about the progress in project, the query informed that the survey work is in progress and online approval is being sought for ghat-section work from the forest department. Railway also informed that Rs 427 crore has been given for gauge conversion work between Khandwa to Sanawad. Meanwhile, Khandwa-Burhanpur Member of Parliament, Nandkumar Singh expressed his unhappiness over such massive delay and said he would discuss the issue with Union rail minister Suresh Prabhu soon.

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