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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 20: 

About four months after issuing a statement saying the proposed wagon repair workshop at Narla in Odisha’s Kalahandi district does not have the approval from railways board, Railways Minister of State Manoj Sinha today said that the project is making progress.

Manoj Sinha Basant Panda

“I have spoken to the State Government regarding the Kalahandi project. We had asked them to provide us land. We are making progress on it,” said Sinha speaking to reporters in Bhubaneswar today. He, however, did not specify the exact nature of the developments so far.

The Minister appeared clueless when questioned about the fate of Sitalapalli wagon factory project for which a token amount of Rs 1000 had been allocated in the budget this year.

On the face of reports that the project will likely be moved to Andhra Pradesh, the Minister said, “There is a high level production of rail wagons as compared to the demand in the country. That is why we are focusing on decongestion in Odisha sector”.

He was quick to add that necessary steps are being taken to launch a number of projects for rapid development of railways in the state.

“Odisha had been neglected in the past. Especially in the railway sector. While Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,200 crore used to be allocated for the state in the rail budget earlier, now it has gone up after the BJP-led NDA government came to power,” he added.

Biju Janata Dal and Congress took pot-shots at the minister for the lack of clarity on the projects.

While BJD Spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy called the Minister’s remarks “irresponsible”, former PCC President Jayadev Jena said “Union Government is teasing people of Odisha by showing them lollypops”.