Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 26:
For once, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik found himself tongue tied.
The largest ever allocation of Rs 2517 crores made for the state in the Rail budget presented in the Parliament by Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday made it hard for him to let out his familiar, almost hackneyed cry of ‘central neglect’.
But anxious not to be seen as overtly pally pally with the NDA government, Patnaik did manage to find at least one ground, minor though it was, to find fault with the budget: the small allocation for the proposed railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli.
“I am disappointed at the token allocation of Rs 1,000 only made for the proposed railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli,” he said in his reaction on allocations made for Odisha in the Railway budget.
The Chief Minister also made a token protest about hfact that the state, unlike the North East and Kashmir regions, has been given no special package or inaccessible and backward districts with zero railway network in the state despite the state government’s commitment to provide land free of cost along with 50% of project cost.
For the rest, it was all praise.
“I understand that there is an overall increase of about 53% in the Budget outlay of Railways. Odisha has also been correspondingly given an increase in allotment. Further, due allocations have been made for our ongoing major projects like Khurda-Bolangir, where State Government has committed to provide land free of cost and bear 50% of the project cost,” Patnaik told reporters here.
The Chief Minister was appreciative of due weightage given to some of the traditionally neglected railway sections like Sambalpur -Titilagarh, Sambalpur -Talcher in the rail budget.