Odisha seeks Rs 5,870 cr for railways in Union Budget

Bhubaneswar, Dec 21 (IANS) The Odisha government on Wednesday asked the Centre to sanction a Rs 5,870-crore railway package in the forthcoming Budget for 2017-18 to accelerate rail projects in the state.

In a letter to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said this package will help both Odisha and Indian Railways in furthering their goals of economic and social justice.

The package includes detailed proposals for the ongoing projects, sanctioning of new lines, station modernisation, introduction of new trains, extension of existing trains, and improved passenger amenities at stations, among others.

Informing that Odisha generates over Rs 15,000 crore annual revenue for India Railways, the Chief Minister said the rail density is much less than the national average.

He urged Indian Railways to support the state government’s vision to extend the reach of rail network to the farthest parts of Odisha, specifically the regions that don’t have the opportunity to grow with rail connectivity.

The Chief Minister requested new railway lines to facilitate mineral movement by establishing linkage with southern Odisha and provide shorter connectivity to Gopalpur port.

Maintaining that an investment of Rs 8,85,000 crore is at different stages in the state, he said a comprehensive plan also has been prepared for developing deep water sea ports along the Odisha coast.

It is expected that the growth in rail-borne traffic will be in excess of 450 MTA in the next five years and pressure on existing logistic infrastructure shall be enormous.

“In this context, I will request you to initiate the east coast dedicated freight corridor from Kharagpur to Vijaywada and east-west dedicated freight corridor from Jharsuguda to Bilaspur to ensure seamless movement of freight between the upcoming ports on the Odisha coast along with the major port at Paradip,” said the Chief Minister.

He also urged acceleration of a few projects so as to complete them within the targeted time. The projects include Sambalpur-Titlagarh, Barang-Bhubaneswar, Titlagarh-Raipur and Talcher-Bimlagarh.

Patnaik requested expediting work on Angul-Sukinda-Duburi and Haridaspur-Paradip rail links being developed by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. and completing them within the stipulated time.

The Chief Minister also raised the issues of passenger amenities at different stations and mass rapid transit system connecting Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

He requested for the establishment of three new divisional headquarters at Rayagada, Jajpur-Keonjhar Road and Rourkela.

“I request you to establish new Divisional HQs at Rayagada, Jajpur-Keonjhar Road and Rourkela by extending the jurisdiction of East Coast Railway (ECoR) to include Banspani-Padapahar section, Bhadrak-Lakhmannath section in Khurda Road Division and Jharsuguda-Barasuan-Kiriburu, Rourkela-Nuagaon and Jharsuguda-Himagiri section in Sambalpur Division,” said Patnaik.

–IANS

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