Rs 1,000 allocation raises doubts over implementation of wagon factory

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Berhampur: Railway Budget’s allocation of only Rs 1,000 for the wagon manufacturing factory at Sitalapalli in Odisha’s Ganjam district has raised serious “doubts” over the project’s implementation.

The factory was announced in 2011-12 by the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee. Since then every year the allocation has been meager.

The proposed project was supposed to be implemented in public-private partnership (PPP) mode and the ministry had sought around 100 acre of land. Odisha government identified around 101 acres but the groundwork is yet to start.

“The Centre is not sincere about the project and we are doubtful about its implementation,” said senior Congress leader and former Union minister Chandra Sekhar Sahu, blaming the state for not mounting pressure on the Centre.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed regret over the allocation of a token amount for the project. “He has moved the Centre to increase the amount,” said BJD MLA (Berhampur) R Ch Chyaupatnaik.

“We hope the Centre will reconsider its decision and allocate a higher amount to expedite the much-awaited project,” BJD vice-president (women wing) Mamata Bisoi said.

Sitalapalli is near the Jagannathpur railway station, about 20 km from here. Establishment of the wagon factory at Sitalapalli is important because Tata Steel is setting up an industrial park near it.

An all-weather port Gopalpur and two special economic zones have also been set up in the area. Tata Steel and Saraf Agency Ltd will be developing the SEZs.

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