Odisha demands 10 new rail lines

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New Delhi: The Odisha Assembly House Committee, Tuesday, submitted a memorandum to Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal demanding budgetary allocation for sanctioning of new railway projects and modernisation of railway stations in the state.

The delegation led by Assembly Speaker SN Patro proposed sanctioning of 10 new railway lines and four short links for better connectivity in the state and urged the minister to focus on proposals for holistic development of railway infrastructure in the state.

Referring to the commitment of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to provide land free of cost, the delegation demanded sanctioning of Puri-Konark (35 km) railway line where state would bear 50 per cent of land as well as construction cost. It also offered land free of cost for new railway line between Bangiriposhi-Gorumahisani in Mayurbhanj district and for Buramara–Chukulia railway line connecting Jharkhand.

The panel, which expressed concern over the cut in allocation, also urged the minister to look into new high priority projects, mostly falling in Maoist-hit districts. The panel sought modernisation of 11 railway stations, including Bhubaneswar railway station, identified by the Ministry. The panel urged Goyal for better passenger amenities at Puri, Bhadrak, Brahmapur, Cuttack, Jajpur-Keonjhar Road, Khurda Road, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Balasore, Jharsuguda and Rourkela. They also asked the minister to include two more platforms in Bhubaneswar railway station. The panel demanded establishment of wagon factory at Sitalapli in Ganjam, concrete sleeper plants at Kantabanji and Bondamunda and skill development centres in KBK region.

The panel demanded provision of goods sheds at district headquarters and up-gradation of dilapidated goods sheds so that the basic requirements of these districts such as cement, food farms, fertilisers etc. are carried in bulk and efficient manner. It also requested for sanctioning funds for development of Multi Modal Logistic parks and container freight stations at Kalinga Nagar, Angul, Rourkela, Choudwar and port locations of Dhamra, Gopalpur and Paradip.

The committee also urged the new minister to speed up eight ongoing railway projects. Further, the House panel demanded introduction of 23 express/superfast trains, 13 inter-city express trains, eight passenger trains, extension of trains at 26 routes, introduction of MEMU/DEMU services in seven stations.

It also requested to run ‘Bakshi Jagabandhu Express’ from Khurda to Mumbai to commemorate the bi-centenary year of freedom fighter Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.

Patro said they apprised Goyal of the state’s demand of Rs 7,200 crore budgetary allocation for several railway projects.

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