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Odisha seeks more allocation in rail budget

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 27:

The Odisha government today urged the Centre to ensure allocation of a sizable revenue generated from Odisha in the next rail budget for expansion of railway infrastructure in the state.

Naveen Patnaik
Naveen Patnaik

In a letter to prime minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said contrary to the gross revenue earnings of the railways from Odisha of over Rs 14,000 crore, the railway route length and rail density in the state is much below the national average.

“The Centre has initiated several ambitious projects like dedicated freight corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways and high speed train projects, it has completely bypassed Odisha although some of the country’s largest investment in steel, aluminium and power sectors are coming up in the state,” Patnaik pointed out.

Apprising the prime minister of the steps taken by the state government for setting up of green field ports, he said the state government has been urging the Railway ministry to put in place a time-bound infrastructure upgradation arrangement for the ports since synchronized development plan between these ports and related rail connectivity is necessary for maximizing economic gains.

Stating that a large part of Odisha, especially the backward region, has remained untouched by the railways, Patnaik said delivering rail services in the Maoist-affected regions was one of the best means to channelise development and provide counter-active force.

Urging the prime minister to complete the Khurdha-Bolangir railway line, he said Odisha has committed to provide land in Daspalla-Bolangir stretch (112-289 km) free of cost and share 50 percent of construction cost for this segment.

The state government has also agreed to bear 25 percent of construction cost for Jeypore-Malkangiri project and provide all land free of cost and bear 50 percent of construction cost for Jeypore-Nabarangpur project.

Requesting the prime minister to take up the issue with the Railways to take up these projects on priority basis, Patnaik said the state government submitted a host of proposals for new lines, gauge conservation, passenger amenities and introduction of new trains.