Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Thursday the state generates an annual revenue of over Rs 15,000 crore for Indian Railway and sought a Rs 5,870 crore package for development of railway infrastructure in the state.”For the forthcoming Budget 2017-18, I have proposed a package on railways for Odisha for your consideration and I reiterate that this package will help both the state and the Indian Railway in furthering their goals of economic and social justice. The package is of Rs 5,870 crore,” Patnaik said in a letter to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
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He said the package includes detailed proposals for ongoing projects, sanctioning of new lines, station modernisation, introduction of new trains, extension of existing trains, improved passenger amenities at stations, on board service, establishment of rail-based industries, multi-modal logistics park and others.Seeking the Centre’s support to provide rail facilities to people in backward regions of the state, he demanded rail connectivity from Gopalpur to Singapur Road BG Line (via Padampur, Ramnaguda, Bakili), Bhadrachalam to Bimlagarh, Bargarh to Nuapada via Padampur and Talcher to Gopalpur.
The proposed rail links will traverse through the unconnected and backward districts which are full of natural resources, Patnaik said, adding they would also facilitate mineral movement by establishing linkage with southern Odisha and provide shorter connectivity to Gopalpur port.”I request you to sanction these critical new lines in the forthcoming Budget, which can bring prosperity along with connectivity to the needy areas,” the letter said.
Patnaik requested the Railways minister 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 of Kirtania, Chidamani, Dhamra, Astarang and Gopalpur on Odisha coast along with major ports at Paradip and the vast northeastern and central hinterlands of India.
The chief minister also referred to the slow pace of execution of the already sanctioned railway projects in the state. Ongoing work of Jaleswar-Digha new line, doubling of Sambalpur-Titlagarh, third line of Bargarh-Bhubaneswar, doubling of Titlagarh to Raipur line, Talcher to Bimlagarh and Daitari-Kenojhar-Bansapani lines needed to be accelerated.
Patnaik said Odisha government has already financed the modernisation of the existing Bhubaneswar Station. However, the proposed new Bhubaneswar station is also equally important.He said the growth rate in different geographic areas of the state calls for a reorganisation of the administrative structure of East Coast Railway.
“I request you to establish new divisional HQs at Rayagada, Jajpur-Keonjhar Road and Rourkela by extending the jurisdiction of ECoR to include Banspani-Padapahar section, Bhadrak- Lokhmannath section in Khurda Road Division and Jharsuguda- Barasuan-Kiriburu and Rourkela-Nuagaon and Jharsuguda-Himagiri section in Sambalpur Division,” Patnaik said in his letter.He assured Prabhu of his government’s commitment to provide all support to the Ministry of Railways for expeditious execution of different projects in the state.