At a time when people in other parts of the country are talking about high-speed bullet train, the residents of Nabarangpur are still waiting to feature on the railway map. Even after 75 years of India’s Independence, proper railway line still eludes the tribal-dominated district in Odisha.
However, the people have now pinned hope on the new Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s scheduled visit to the Nabarangpur district today.
It is pertinent to mention here that a railway line project from Jeypore to Nabarangpur was approved by the Centre in 2016-17. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the Centre and Odisha government in this regard.
As per the agreement, the State government was supposed to provide land for the project.
Similarly, the cost of laying the railway line was to be shared equally by the Centre and the State.
It was then decided to spend around Rs 748 crore for the railway line, but the project is yet to take off.
“We are still apprehensive about the project as it has remained in pen and paper so far. However, things will get clear after the Railway Minister’s scheduled visit,” said Pradip Jani, a local resident.
The Railway Minister is presently in Odisha and has already reviewed a number of railway projects in the State. On Friday, Vaishnaw visited the site for the new Rayagada Railways Division and reviewed the Divisional building plan. He also reviewed various Railway projects in the State en-route to Rayagada in an overnight train journey.
During his maiden trip to Odisha after becoming the Railway Minister, Vaishnaw, after visiting Puri on Thursday, said Vande Bharat Express will be extended to the pilgrim town.
The extension is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of connecting every corner of the country by the semi-high speed train service within 75 weeks under the ongoing ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.’
(Edited by Pradeep Singh)