Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 2:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who on had on Monday told the media that his party would raise the issue of Centre neglecting Odisha in the winter session of the Assembly, today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to have a planned railway infrastructure in the state for sustained industrial activity besides spreading rail network in Maoist-hit areas.
The Chief Minister wrote: “You would appreciate that Odisha continues to be one of the most preferred destinations for investment especially in metal, mining and power sectors.”
“Odisha government is leveraging this opportunity to plan for comprehensive economic growth by focusing on creation of dedicated industrial corridors,” Patnaik said.
The nature of industrial activities in the state requires a well planned railway infrastructure for its sustainability, he added.
Patnaik drew attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that railway route length and rail density in the state is very much below national average and substantially lower than that in neighbouring states, while in contrast, gross earnings from various stations in Odisha is estimated to be in excess of Rs 14,000 crore during 2014-15.
“I would request you to kindly ensure allocation of a sizable part of revenue generated from Odisha within the state itself for strengthening and expanding rail infrastructure,” the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that many projects like dedicated freight corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways and high speed train projects initiated by the Centre has completely bypassed Odisha although some of the country’s largest investment in steel, aluminium and power sectors are coming up here.
“I believe that delivering rail services in the Naxal affected regions is one of the best means to catalyze development and provide counter active force,” said Patnaik.
The Chief Minister said a large part of Odisha especially the backward regions have remained untouched by railways, adding lack of infrastructure has been one of the major reasons which have impeded socio-economic growth of this region resulting in growth of left wing extremism.
There is a vast coal deposit in Ib valley in western Odisha which requires proper rail infrastructure, Patnaik said adding that Odisha government has already formed a company to develop rail corridor for evacuation of coal from Talcher coalfield.
“Hence to develop synergy, my government is exploring the possibility of bringing Brahmani Rail Company under the ambit of the coal SPV,” he said.
The Chief Minister said he also enclosed a brief on the proposed package for Odisha for 2016-17 for new lines, doubling, electrification, gauge conversion, passenger amenities, introduction of new trains along with his letter for consideration.