Bhubaneswar: Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in a letter to the Railway Board Chairman expressed discontent over the Indian Railways’ demand that the State government provide 100 percent land acquisition cost for the Jeypore – Malkangiri Railway Line Project.
The development of railways is the duty of the Centre, but the State Government provided financial support to expedite the project work. It does not mean that Odisha will provide funds for all projects, Padhi mentioned in his letter.
The State Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with East Coast Railway (ECoR) in October last year in which the former had agreed to provide 25 percent project construction cost and 25 percent land acquisition cost. But now the Indian Railways is demanding that the State should provide 100 percent funds for land acquisition on grounds of loss in revenue due to decline in mining and transportation.
The State Government has termed it as an open defiance of the MoU.
Addressing the Chairman of Railway Board AK Mittal, Padhi wrote, “I would request you to instruct your officials to honour the MoU signed between both the Governments and expedite work for this project in the overall interest of the country.”
Talking to media persons, Padhi said, “They wrote to us in June saying that Odisha Government should bear complete land acquisition cost. Therefore we requested that as an MoU was signed in presence of Odisha CM and Railway Minister, they should stick to it.”
A broad gauge rail line of 130 kilometres from Jeypore to Malkangiri will be set up under the project. The main intention behind it was socio-economic development of the backward and Maoists affected zone.
An outlay of Rs 79 crore for the project had been made in the Railway Budget 2016-17. But it is pending since last one year due to the confrontation between the State and Indian Railways.