Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 16:
The Odisha government today urged Union Railways ministry to sanction the Jeypore-Malkangiri and Jeypore –Nabarangpur railway projects on a priority basis which will usher socio-economic upliftment of the backward area while proposing to share part of the cost for these projects.
In a letter addressed to Union minister for Railways DV Sadananda Gowda today, Odisha’s Minister for Commerce and Transport, Ramesh Chandra Majhi said; “Odisha has time and again raised demand for sanctioning Jeypore-Malkangiri and Jeypore –Nabarangpur railway projects, but it has not yet been sanctioned probably due to low Rate of Return (RoR)”.
Both these projects are proposed in one of the most backward, Naxal affected tribal regions of the country, Majhi said.
“Considering the socio-economic development that can happen in this area if both these railway projects are taken up, Government of Odisha has in principle agreed to provide support for taking up these two projects”, wrote Majhi.
The Transport minister said the present RoR for Jeypore-Malkangiri railway project is around 12%. If 25% of the construction cost of the this project is borne by the state government, the RoR of this project will be more than 17%, well above the cut off criteria of 14% fixed by the Railways ministry.
“Government of Odisha in principle gives consent to bear 25% of construction cost of this project”, the minister proposed in his letter.
In respect of the Jeypore–Nabarangpur railway project, which has a negative RoR at present, the minister said; “Government of Odisha, in principle, agrees to provide all land free of cost and bear 50% of the construction cost”.
Majhi said even with this support, the RoR of this project may be below 12%.
However, considering the fact that this project is going to bring socio-economic benefit to the Naxal affected, tribal dominated backward area, the minister urged the ministry of Railways to take up this project as a ‘national project’.