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Naveen demands more budgetary allocation for Odisha’s railway projects

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 9:

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today urged prime minister Narendra Modi to make adequate budgetary allocation for the development of railway sector in Odisha.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Patnaik said, “In contrast to the gross earnings of Rs 14,000 crore of the Railways from various stations in Odisha during 2013-14 fiscal, the railway route length and density in the state is far less than its neighbouring states which is much below the national average”.

Naveen PatnaikHe also said while the Centre has initiated several ambitious projects like dedicated freight corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways and high speed train projects in other states, it has set aside the interest of Odisha where some of the country’s largest investment in steel, aluminium and power sector are coming up.

Stating that the volume of investment in the state in diverse sectors at different stages is over Rs 885,000 crore, Patnaik said the state government has taken steps to set up Greenfield ports that would be the country’s gateway to international maritime trade and coastal shipping between the East coast and West coast.

“As it is expected that the growth in the railway traffic would be over 300 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) in the next five years, the Railway minister should put in place a time bound infrastructure upgradation arrangements for the upcoming ports in the state”, the chief minister said while demanding the extension of eastern dedicated freight corridor of Ludhiana-Dankuni to Brahampur to ensure seamless movement of freight between the ports and northern and central hinterlands.

Referring to the backward districts of the state that are affected by left wing extremism, Patnaik said rail services in these regions would foster development that would also act as a counteractive force.

In this context, he said, construction of Bhadrachalam Road-Talcher rail link via Malkangiri, Jeypore, Lanjigarh; Sambalpur-Brahmapur rail link via Phulbani and Rayagada-Gopalpur rail link via Bhismagiri assume much significance.

All the proposed projects should be treated as national projects, he urged.

He also requested the Prime Minister to expedite the Khordha-Bolangir railway line for which the state government has committed to allocate land in the Daspalla-Bolangir stretch, free of cost, with 50 percent share in the construction cost for this project.

Besides, Patnaik also requested Modi to ask the Railway ministry to set up special purpose vehicle (SPV) for its proposed dedicated rail corridors in Angul-Talcher coal belt, Basundhara coal belt in Jharsuguda-Sundargarh and Bansapani-Nayagarh iron ore division.

“This apart, the Railway ministry should be advised to expedite the construction work of a world class railway station in Bhubaneswar and Puri. The state government has already informed the ministry to bear 50 percent cost of construction of the state-of-the-art railway station in Bhubaneswar”, he added.

The chief minister also said railway stations at important district centres and tourist destinations need special attention to provide multi-functional complexes and upgraded passenger amenities.

“Besides, the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack region which is planned as mega urban complex also needs to have a urban transport system”, Patnaik said.