Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 26:
Acting on reliable sources that Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, presently on a tour to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is likely announce the exclusion of Waltair Division from the East Coast Railway (ECoR), Odisha BJP leaders have vehemently opposed the move.
Sources said state BJP leaders, in a meeting with the top Central party leaders have urged them to ask the Railway minister to refrain from making such an announcement.
In his reaction, senior state BJP leader and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan has made it clear that no steps would be taken, which would go against the interest of Odisha.
“The Waltair Division may be excluded from the ECoR. But we have proposed the Centre not to take any step to bring any south Odisha district under the Waltair Division,” he said.
The Union minister also reminded that a committee was formed during the then Congress-led UPA government to look into the demands of the Andhra and Telangana governments on formation of Waltair Division.
A senior Railway official said though no decision had been taken on the bifurcation of ECoR, the Centre can make an announcement to this effect if it wants to.
It is worthwhile here to mention that a committee, formed by the Railway Board, had sought the opinion of Odisha MPs and the state government on this issue.
Meanwhile, senior leaders of all political parties, in a meeting here on Monday, unanimously decided to vehemently protest against the conspiracy of the Centre to exclude the Waltair Division from ECoR.
They said the ECoR, formed during 1996-97 fiscal, had taken five years to become completely operational. Later the Railway ministry included Waltair Division under ECoR in 2003.
The leaders rued that the Centre till date has not taken any steps to include mineral rich districts like Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj and other areas including Jharsuguda, Bonai, Rourkela, Kansbahal, Ib, Belpahar and Brajarajnagar under the ECoR jurisdiction as they still remain under the South Eastern Railway (SER).
“Under such circumstances, the decision of the Centre to take the Waltair Division out of ECoR is nothing but a well-orchestrated conspiracy,” they pointed out.
The meeting decided to urge the state government to convene a special session of the State Assembly to discuss the issue in detail. It also decided to send a high level delegation comprising representatives of all political parties to take up the issue with the Prime Minister.