Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 26:
Odisha has got an allocation of Rs 2517.07 crores in the Railway budget presented in Parliament by Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu today.
While the allocation falls way short of the demand for Rs 3200 crores demanded by the state, it is the largest ever allocation in the rail budget, surpassing last year’s allocation of Rs 1420 crore by a whopping 77.04 percent.
In a clear indication of where its priorities lie, the Rail budget has made an allocation of 1527.80 crore, significantly higher than the state’s demand for Rs 945 for doubling and third line of existing rail networks while making a much smaller allocation for opening of new rail links.
The allocation made for such projects include Banspan-Daitari-Jakhapura (Rs 513 crore), Sambalpur-Titlagarh (Rs 470 crore), Sambalpur-Talcher (Rs 97 crore), Jharsuguda-Rengali (Rs 31 cr), Sambalpur-Rengali (Rs 2.60 cr), Sambalpur-Talcher (Rs 97 cr), Bhadrak-Nirgundi third line (Rs 125 crore) and Delang-Puri (Rs 100 crore), Delang-Puri (Rs100 cr) and Barang-Rajathagarh (Rs 16 cr).
Allocations have also been made for Khurda Road-Barang 3rd line (Rs 32 cr), Cuttack-Barang (Rs 4 cr), Raipur-Titilagarh (Rs 241.52 cr) and Brundamal-Jharsuguda fly over connection for joining down line (Rs 11 cr)
Electrification of projects is another area where the allocation has exceeded the state’s demand. While the state had asked for Rs 210 crores under this head in the memorandum submitted to the Centre ahead of the rail budget, the actual amount allocated in the budget is Rs 293.38 crore.
The Budget has set aside Rs 137.88 crore for the electrification of Vizianagram-Rayagada-Titlagarh-Raipur project, Rs 100 crore for Jharsuguda-Sambalpur-Titlagarh and Rs 55 crore for Sambalpur-Angul projects.
As against the state’s demand for Rs 1470 crores, the rail budget has provided just 608.30 crores for new railway lines. While no allocations have been made for projects like Kendujhar-Badamapahar, Jeypore-Nabrangpur, Puri-Konark and Lanjigarh-Junagarh, an allocation of Rs 195 crore has been made for the much delayed 289 km long Khurda-Bolangir railway line, Rs 75 core for the 98.7 km Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road, Rs 36.8 crore for the 82 km Haridaspur-Paradip line, Rs 280 crores for the Talcher-Bimalagarh link and Rs 7.5 crore for the Lanjigarh-Junagarh link.
The rail budget has completely ignored the state’s demand for an allocation of Rs 200 crores for goods sheds and traffic facilities.
Odisha, it may be noted, had asked for Rs 150 crore towards development of goods sheds at Rourkela, Bhadrak, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Titlagarh, Khariar, Kesinga, Rayagada, Jeypore, Korapur, Rairakhol, Angul, Dhenkanal, Nirgundi, Mancheswar, Khurda and Jaganathpur and the rest Rs 50 crore for development of mult modal logistics parks at Kalinga Nagar (Jajpur), Angul, Jharsuguda, Rourkela and Choudwar.
Another area that rail budget has completely blanked out is allocation of new trains ahead of the Nabakalebara festival in Puri, during which the Odisha government is expecting a crowd of over 30 lakh in the pilgrim town.
The plan outlay and extra budget resources allocated for the Odisha headquarterd East Coast Railway stood at Rs 3112.48 crore.
For new works Rs 298.18 crore has been earmarked. The projects are: Vizianagaram-Samalpur (Rs 58.31cr), Jharapada-Budhapank 3rd and 4th line (Rs 45.73 cr), Budhapank-Salegaon 3rd and 4th line (Rs 34.30 cr), Bhadrak-Vizianagaram 3rd line (Rs 120.05 cr), Koraput-Singapur Road (Rs 37.50 cr), and Khurda-Vizianagaram bye pass (Rs 2.29 cr).