KOLHAPUR: Citizens, elected representatives and railway activists here have demanded a new train from Kolhapur to Shirdi and increase in the frequency of Kolhapur-Ahmedabad and Kolhapur-Delhi trains.

The demands were raised at a meeting of the Central Railway users’ consultative committee in Mumbai recently.

The Mahalaxmi temple here witnesses 30 lakh footfalls every year from every corner of the state and neighbouring states. Likewse, lakhs of devoters from south Maharashtra and Kokan visit the Sai temple in Shirdi every year. But there is no direct rail connectivity between the two pilgrimage places, the members of the committee said.

Shivnath Biyani and Samir Seth, members from Kolhapur in the committee, said, “We had demanded a train between Kolhapur and Shirdi at the meeting with the general manager of Central Railway. The Nagpur-Koplhapur train arrives reaches the city every Wednesday and stops here for the next three days. This can train cane be used for a service to Shirdi. It could return from the Shirdi on Fridays and then leave to Nagpur the next day.”

The officials promised to forward the proposal to the railway board, they added.

Biyani and Seth further said, “We have also sought increase in frequency of Kolhapur-Ahmadabad, and KolhapurDelhi trains. The people are demanding increase in frequency of these trains from once in week to twice in week. The railways has promised cooperation on this issue also.”
MP Dhananjay Mahadik said, “Kolhapur and Shirdi are important pilgrimage centres in Maharashtra and there should be direct rail connectivity between these two cities. I have held talks with the railway administration. We would keep pursuing this demand.”
Local citizen Uddhav Patil said, “We visit Shirdi every year. It is seven to eight hours journey. We have to rely on road transport for such a long journey. The rail service between Kolhapur and Shirdi should be started as early as possible.”