Railway Budget: Odisha concerned over reduced allocation

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government Thursday expressed concern over reduction in allocation for railway projects in the state in the Union Budget for the 2020-21 fiscal and will request the Centre to increase the outlay.

State Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s suggestions have not been heeded in the Union Budget.

“We are disappointed. Only one new line has been proposed while the allocation in state’s railway projects for 2020-21 fiscal is less than expectation. We will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to rethink the budgetary allocation,” Behera told reporters here.

The allocation of `4,373 crore for different railway projects in the state for 2020-21 is around 27 per cent less than that of the last fiscal when the state had received `5,993 crore, which included `1,400 crore invested by NTPC for construction of Jharsuguda-Barapali coal corridor.

Though the Railways department has claimed that adequate allocations are made for important projects, the budget included a token allotment of `1 lakh for 241-km-long Sambalpur-Gopalpur new line via Phulbani, which will be constructed at an estimated cost of `2,957 crore, the s minister said.

The ruling BJD also said the cut in budgetary allocation for different railway projects in the state is a “cause of concern”. “The reduction in overall allocation for the state is a cause of serious concern as Odisha is one of the least rail coverage states in the country though it contributes maximum revenue,” BJD spokesperson and MP Sasmit Patra said.

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