Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 17:
In a disclosure that would put many on the back foot, Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha today revealed that the proposal for the establishment of a wagon repair factory at Narla in Odisha’s Kalahandi district was never approved.
“There is much hullabaloo about the wagon repair factory at Narla. But the reality is that this project had never got the approval. I can tell this with full responsibility. Someone who was on a visit here (Odisha) announced that the factory would be set up at Narla. Whichever project is approved by the Railways finds mention in the ‘Pink Book’. Nowhere is there anything mentioned about the Narla factory anywhere in the Pink Book,” disclosed Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha here today while speaking at the launching of free Wi-Fi service at the railway station here putting to rest allegations by the Congress and BJD that the BJP government at the Centre had shifted the proposed project to Visakhapatnam.
“Our government doesn’t believe in making mere announcements. Whatever we announce we do it. We believe in keeping promises,” added Sinha taking an indirect dig at the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government.
“Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik have discussed the Narla issue yesterday. Some factory will be step up in Narla. A joint working group has been formed for the purpose,” he added.
The Minister said several projects of the Railways will come up in Odisha in the coming days. He, however, added that which projects would be set up, where will these come up; would be only decided after a detailed review.
To prove his point that the Central government was giving importance to Odisha Sinha said: “Railways have provided the quantum of allocation sought by the Odisha government in the Railways Budget. The state government had sought Rs 5,000 crore. The Central government has allocated Rs 4,700 crore. By the end of the year, it will cross Rs 5,000 crore.”
Union Railways Minister Prabhu too hit out at the erstwhile UPA government for the Narla issue.
“Nothing happens by making mere announcements. In order to implement the announcement, provisions have to be made in the budget. No allocations were made in the budget for the project. However, I have discussed the issue with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. A joint working group has been formed to ascertain what type of factory can be set up at Narla. Odisha chief secretary and East Coast Railways (ECoR) general manager will recommend on what factory will be feasible at Narla and accordingly budgetary allocation will be made,” said Prabhu.
Notably, at least ten Congress workers were detained by the police today when they attempted to barge in into the railway station area waving black flags just before the inauguration of the free Wi-Fi service to protest against the shifting of the proposed wagon repair facility from Narla to Visakhapatnam. They were detained after they had scuffles with the police.