Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 20:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu urging him to implement the recommendation of the Joint Working Group for setting up of an Electric Locomotive Periodic Overhaul (POH) workshop in Kalahandi district.
“I am happy to inform you that the Joint Working Group has deliberated on various possibilities and based on the actual demand and other economic considerations of Railways it has recommended for setting up an Electric Locomotive Periodic Overhaul (POH) Workshop in Kalahandi district,” stated Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in his letter to Union Railway Minister.
“Considering the expectations and aspirations of the people of Odisha in general and the sentiments of people of Kalahandi in particular, I urge you to consider this recommendation favourably and sanction this workshop for the industrially backward KBK region of the state at the earliest,” Patnaik added.
The Chief Minister in his letter said that the recommendation has been made mainly on account of the overall shortage of Electric Locomotive POH capacity over Indian Railways, large electrification works being undertaken in East Coast Railways (ECoR) and also the fact that there is no such workshop anywhere in ECoR.
The working group has also done a feasibility study based on the current operations and concluded that there is an immediate need for 60 locomotives per year capacity POH workshop. This would reduce the cost of having the current 344 electric locomotives of ECoR being overhauled at far off places in Eastern, South Eastern, and Central Railways. With the electrification of the entire Sambalpur Division, which incidentally serves the Kalahandi district, the demand for POH of electric locomotives can only go up Patnaik added.
“The recommended Electric Locomotive POH workshop would need about 250 acres of land and my government proposes to provide the same free of cost for the greater benefit of the state,” Patnaik said.
It may be recalled that during the Union Railway Minister’s visit to Bhubaneswar on 16th April, it was decided to set up a Joint Working Group comprising of the chief secretary and general manager, ECoR to do an analysis of Rail based industries and thereafter suggest the most suitable factory/workshop in Kalahandi district, where earlier a wagon maintenance workshop had been announced in Railway Budget, 2013-14.