Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Oct 10:
Ministry of Railways today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Odisha government for cost sharing of two new railway line projects.
The agreement was signed for sharing cost of laying two new lines— Jeypore–Malkangiri and Jeypore–Nabarangpur— in Odisha which was approved in the last Railway budget.
The state government had agreed to partly bear the cost of these projects. For the Jeypore – Malkangiri project stretching over 130 km, it would bear 25% of the total cost whereas it would bear entire land cost and 50% cost of construction for the Jeypore – Nabarangpur project.
“Odisha is a focus state for Indian Railways. The speed of implementation of projects will take Odisha ahead in rail connectivity. Odisha has minerals, tourism potential, etc. But development is lacking due to lack of connectivity. State government alone cannot bring in connectivity. So Indian Railways is doing its part to improve the connectivity in Odisha. To improve the connectivity infrastructure in a particular state, Indian Railways is now forming joint venture with that state government,” Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
“Sharing of ownership will lead to more leverage in creating connectivity in the state. 11 Railway stations including Bhubaneswar is planned to be taken for Railway Station Redevelopment. Indian Railways is planning ways of developing Odisha as a tourism hub through IRCTC. Indian Railways through its PSU, IRCTC has also planned to market products of tribal SHGs in Odisha. Indian Railways has also planned to open a Rail Factory in Kalahandi,” he added.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said: “Odisha occupies an important place on the map of Indian Railways. For the first time, an all time high of Rs 4880 crore has been provided to Odisha. The rail connectivity in Odisha is way less than the national average and I am glad that this government has given priority for improving the rail connectivity in Odisha. The two projects viz, Jeypore – Malkangiri and Jeypore – Nabarangpur will serve the most backward, Naxal affected and tribal areas of the state. Odisha government will be providing land free of cost for these projects.”
During the signing of the MoU, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, MP Jhina Hikaka, state Transport and Commerce Minister Ramesh Jena were present.