Rashmi Ranjan

Commuters will get world-class facilities soon as Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the renovation work of the Bhubaneswar Railway Station.

According to sources, a whooping Rs 398 crore will be spent on the redevelopment work of the railway station enabling it to cater to over 1.5 lakh commuters daily.

As part of the developmental works, an 11-storey building will come up on Master Canteen-side while a six-storey and a four-storey building will be constructed on the old station side. All the construction work will end in two years, sources informed.

The revamped railway station will have wide entrances, special parking arrangements, lounge for travellers, 34 lifts, 20 escalators, 21 retiring rooms, 150-bedded dormitory, food courts and ATM kiosks.

Speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony, Vaishnaw said, "The Modi government has raised the allocation for railways in Odisha to Rs 10,000 crore per annum from only Rs 800 crore during the UPA regime. Now, critics have no reasons to make allegations of central negligence towards the state's telecom and railways."

The minister also said, "Railway projects will make progress if the Odisha government cooperates and provides required land. Not only Bhubaneswar, 35 other railway stations will be redeveloped in the State soon."

Responding to the Union Railway Minister, the ruling BJD said that the govt has been providing necessary help for railway projects in the State.

"The Railway Minister may be unaware, but the Odisha government has provided necessary land for rail projects. Rather than making such allegations, focus on speedy completion of developmental projects would benefit the people of Odisha more," BJD MP, Munna Khan said.

Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi, who was also present during the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the renovation of the Bhubaneswar Railway Station, claimed that Odisha has substantially gained from the central government's policy for auctioning of mines.

"The state's revenue from the mining sector has touched Rs 50,000 crore from around Rs 5,000 crore in 2014-15," he pointed out.
He also said that the states were "unable to get adequate revenue from mining operations earlier" as a policy of 'first come first served' was followed.

Under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), Odisha gets Rs 15,000 crore per year, Joshi said, adding that the fund can be utilised for development of mining areas and welfare of the poor and tribal people.