Union Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, in a press conference in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, alleged that the BJD government’s failure to provide land was responsible for the delay in various rail projects throughout the state.
While urging Odisha to speed up land acquisition for railways, Gohain contrasted the state government’s commitment with the Rs 5,102 crores sanctioned for Odisha’s railway projects by the Centre for 2017-18.
BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra explained how delays were caused by the Indian Railways and not the state. “Odisha government is efficiently meeting its land acquisition obligations. But poor planning by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is causing delays. For example, land acquisition for Anugul-Sukinda and Haridaspur Paradip has completed three years ago. Later, RVNL requested additional land, creating problems on the ground when old acquisitions were done at lower rates”.
RVNL, an organization associated with the Indian Railways, is a government-owned company that undertakes rail project development and mobilizes financial resources.
Two Union Ministers from Odisha, Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, met Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday to discuss various rail projects in the state. Cancellation of an intercity train in Odisha since July has badly hit connectivity between Sundargarh and Koraput, giving the ruling BJD an issue to corner the BJP.
The three Union ministers also discussed the rehabilitation of roughly 1,000 slum families that may be evicted due to upcoming rail projects.