The Odisha unit of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has demanded preservation and heritage status for the Paralakhemundi railway station in Odisha's Gajapati district.

An expert team from INTACH comprising historians Anil Dhir and Deepak Kumar Nayak, conservation architect Satyam Jyoti and Bishnu Mohan Adhikari had recently visited the Paralakhemundi railway station and submitted a report on the same.

Considering the report, state convener of INTACH A.B. Tripathy has written to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in this regard.

In the letter, Tripathy urged Vaishnaw not to demolish the old railway station building. The new building coming up is on a raised platform and overshadows the existing heritage structure. The new planned station is being constructed on the design of the Paralakhemundi palace.

While the new building is being built on the lines of the older one, it should be noted that the original building has a lot of historical and heritage value, he said.

"It is still in a very good state and does not need much restoration work. This old station should be given a heritage tag and preserved as it is. It is not only of importance to Odisha, being the first railway station of the state, but is an important railway landmark of the nation," Tripathy said.

He also demanded to include Paralakhemundi railway station in the Ramayana circuit. The Mahendragiri Hills, which are biodiversity, heritage and pilgrimage site, have the nearest railhead at Paralakhemundi. The hills have some of the oldest temples of India which find reference in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

A train named Mahendragiri Express should run from Paralakhemundi and Ayodhya which will boost tourism and pilgrimage to the district, the letter said.