Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 31:
The Assembly Committee headed by the Speaker constituted for pressing Odisha’s demands before the Centre even as the Railway Budget is to be presented on February 26 has not submitted the memorandum to it. Reason: The Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not give appointments to meet the committee.
Government chief whip Ananta Das said, as the Railway minister and the prime minister did not give us appointments to meet them, we did not go to New Delhi. Had the Union government given us time to meet them, we would have certainly submitted the memorandum to them. It has already been prepared by us.
However, the Opposition parties have trashed the government claims.
Opposition leader Narsingh Mishra said, neither the legislative Assembly secretariat nor the state government have the purpose to present the memorandum.
‘‘The Centre not giving appointments could be one of the reasons. When the state government has not prepared the report, blaming Centre for this is baseless. The Assembly Committee has met once on Khordha-Bolangir railway project. It has not discussed anything regarding the memorandum on Railway Budget,’’ Narsingh Mishra said.
If the memorandum had been prepared, he would have come to know. If it was ready then it could have been delivered through postal service despite Centre not giving appointments, Mishra added.
Opposition BJP also left no opportunity to criticise the state government for failing to submit memorandum on Railway Budget.
‘‘The state government has posted three Resident Commissioners in New Delhi. They could have scheduled appointments and met them on behalf of the Assembly Committee. Now the question arises, how many times they have met the Centre on this?’’ BJP state unit President KV Singhdeo questioned.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on November 27 last year, sought Rs 3, 200 crore during 2015-16 financial year to complete ongoing railway projects in the state ahead of Nabakalebar in June 2015. The chief minister had urged the railway minister to acknowledge the poor railway network and poor rail density across Orissa that plays a hindrance in the way of industrial development in the state.
The Chief Minister also urged Prabhu to ensure completion of all ongoing works including doubling of lines, electrification, augmentation of Puri station, additional platforms at Bhubaneswar railway station and construction of a passenger amenity complex in Puri by Nabakalebar.
However, the state’s demands have not been met yet and completion of projects before March is anybody’s guess.