Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 17:
The unfinished work of the Khordha-Bolangir railway project would be completed within six years at an estimated cost of Rs 2400 crore.
“For timely completion of the much-awaited project, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be formed. A MoU would be signed in this regard between the Railway Board and the Odisha government very soon,” said Commerce and Transport minister Ramesh Majhi at a press briefing on Saturday.
Stating that the Centre had agreed to the proposal of the state government to complete the remaining work of the project, the minister said a sample MoU, sent by the Railway Board, has been approved by the Chief Minister.
“The state government has written a letter to the Centre today about the date for signing of the MoU,” he added.
As per available information, the 289-km long Khordha-Bolangir railway project was approved in the Railway budget way back in 1994-95 while the Railway ministry has approved 112 km of rail route from Khordha.
Work on the 53 km-long rail route from Khordha to Begunia has started of which construction of 36 km of rail route, including all railway bridges up to Mahidharpur, has been completed.
Since the Centre is expected to get only 2 percent of the total project cost, it has not given permission for the completion of the project resulting in inordinately delay in the survey work.
Considering the above, the state government had focused on finding al alternative route for completion of the much-delayed project before the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections last year.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in January last year, had proposed to the Railway ministry that the state government would provide land free of cost to the Railways and bear half the project cost, which has been finally agreed upon by the Centre.
As per the agreement reached between the two, the Centre and state government have agreed to form an SPV for the purpose. Out of Rs 2000 crore earmarked for the project, the Centre and the state government would contribute Rs 1000 crore each while the latter would bear the Rs 400 crore for compensation towards land acquisition.
The project work would be completed within six years from the date of signing of the MoU.
“While the state government would complete land acquisition in the first two years, work on the 177 km-long stretch would be completed in the next four years,” the minister informed.
Stating that the state government has earmarked Rs 100 crore for the proposed project in its annual budget this year, Majhi said the state government had written a letter to the Railway Board to fix the date for signing of the MoU.