Bhubaneswar: Construction work on a 19-km stretch of the 289-km-long Khurda-Balangir railway line to link coastal Odisha with the western region of the state, would begin from Balangir side in December.
The railway line is a long awaited one, as the survey for it was done before Independence in 1945, but work on the project started only in 2007.
East Coast Railway (ECoR) General Manager Rajiv Vishnoi today said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who chaired the first apex committee meeting on the railway project, has asked the Railways to complete the project within six years, that is by December 15, 2021.
The 19-km section spans Balangir to Bhuinsapalli.
Indian Railways had on July 20 signed an agreement with the Odisha government for completion of the Khurda-Balangir rail route.
As per the agreement, Odisha government has committed to finance 50 per cent of the expenditure to be incurred for the construction of 176 km-long rail route from Balangir to Daspalla in Nayagarh district.
The project cost of the route was estimated to be Rs 2,000 crore of which the state would provide Rs 1,000 crore, besides free-of-cost land worth Rs 350 crore.
The state government has appointed land acquisition officers in Boudh, Balangir and Nayagarh districts, Odisha’s Commerce and Transport Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi said.
The minister said the total 289 km-long route has been divided into three phases – Khurda-Begunia (36 km), Begunia -Daspalla (76 km) and Daspalla-Balangir (176 km). While Khurda-Begunia line work was complete, the line work from Begunia to Rajsunakhala is also over and work on the remaining was going on there.
The minister said as per the ECoR, the rail track network construction work from Begunia to Nayagarh would be completed by 2017.