Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday urged the Railway Ministry for immediate restoration of all coaching trains over Rayagada-Singapur Road in Sambalpur Division of East Coast Railway affected due to recent flash floods. “I would request you to take necessary steps to address the transportation needs of the distressed people by ensuring immediate resumption of all coaching trains over this affected section and also get the second bridge commissioned in this section within the least possible time as a long term solution,” Patnaik wrote to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Drawing the Railway Minister’s attention to the incident of a railway bridge getting washed away by the recent flash flood between Rayagada and Singapur Road station in Sambalpur division of the ECoR, Patnaik said this section connects large hinterland of Odisha covering the districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Bolangir and others.
It is learnt that with the present situation of single line working, ECoR is not likely to run more than 50 per cent of the coaching trains that are supposed to ply over these areas, Patnaik said adding that as of on Thursday, five pairs of coaching trains have been cancelled fully and further 8 pairs are being diverted via Raipur, Nagpur, Bhopal route bypassing most of Odisha.
As per the information, the Railways have planned to resume full coaching service only after rebuilding of a new bridge, which is likely to take upto eight months, he said.
As this section is also used to pass freight trains, there is a compromise on coaching train operations against the need to run all goods train. The timeline envisaged by the Railways full restoration of all coaching trains is creating a large scale discontentment amongst rail users of these affected areas, he stated in the letter.
The people of the affected districts are already distressed with floods and are struggling with their livelihood issues connected with rebuilding of houses and restoring of economic activities.
“As you are aware, there are large districts with huge tribal population and are also affected by the means of left wing extremism. Considering the specific concerns of these areas, it is essentially required that the full coaching service of the railways are restored at the earliest,” Patnaik said.