Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Apr 30:
The Central government today said that it was committed to bring underdeveloped areas in Odisha in the railway map by laying tracks on an additional 731 km for which Rs 3689 crore would be spent on five projects in the state, bringing rail density in the state on par with the national average.
While replying to a Private Member Resolution on various railway issues connected with Odisha moved by BJD member Bhupinder Singh, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told the Rajya Sabha said that his ministry is working with the Odisha government through Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) and five projects would be taken up under it.
“Through SPV involving the ministries of railways, coal and Odisha government, we would be carrying out five projects at an investment of Rs 3689 crore. We would be covering 731 kilometres through the process,” he said.
Over Rs. 41,000 crore worth of railway projects were sanctioned for Odisha, he added.
The Resolution was, however, withdrawn later.
BJD member Bhupinder Singh said even 67 years after independence, many districts of the country have not yet been connected by railway lines. The state has very poor rail connectivity and as many as seven districts in Odisha are yet to be connected with rail links, he said.
“Odisha contributes significantly to the revenue as about 10 per cent of the total revenue of the railways has been contributed by the state during 2013-14. We are demanding more railway connectivity and facilities in Odisha,” Singh said.
On the other hand, the minister promised to bring the rail density in Odisha on par with the national average.
He lamented the “politics” of granting rail stoppages, saying it leads to reduction in the speed of trains, including Rajdhani Express. Requests for only valid stoppages would be approved in the future, he said.