Devbrat Patnaik

Over to you, said union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw while throwing the ball back in Odisha's court amid the tussle of BJD and BJP over the proposed rail project in Bargarh-Nuapada.

The battle for the crucial bypoll to Padampur assembly seat reached fever pitch on Sunday when two central ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Ashwini Vaishnaw hit the campaign trail and went all guns blazing at the ruling BJD. While Tomar alleged that tardy pace of work by BJD led to the delayed disbursal of crop insurance, rail minister Vaishnaw said the Naveen Patnaik-led government is peddling lies about the proposed new railway line between Bargarh and Nuapada.

Ashwini Vaishnaw threw an open challenge to Odisha government while addressing a public gathering at Paikamal in Bargarh district. He said, “If Odisha government provides land for the project (new rail line from Bargarh to Nuapada) tomorrow, we will start work the very next day."

"Modi government has approved railway projects worth Rs 10k crore. It is PM Modi’s dream to ensure rail connectivity in every place of Odisha, and he has been pumping in funds to make sure this happens," added Vaishnaw.

Western Odisha will have 13 world class railway stations, the process of which has already begun, the central minister further said.

The ruling BJD, however, refuted the allegations made by the two Union ministers. "A public rally is not the appropriate forum to seek land from state government. Has rail ministry done any survey for the project? If yes, then they should furnish more details. Centre had earlier said that this project is not beneficial, so it's evident who is peddling lies," said BJD leader Prasanna Acharya.