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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The House Committee of Odisha Assembly on Railways has decided to meet Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tomorrow over the reduction in rail budget allocation for the State.

The House Committee led by Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro today held a detailed discussion over the budgetary allocation for Odisha. The panel members reportedly expressed displeasure over low budgetary allocation to Odisha this fiscal in comparison to last year.

Later, the panel members decided to submit a memorandum to Goyal demanding more budgetary allocation, new railway line for Puri-Konark, Jajpur-Dhamra, Bargarh-Nuapada and Mayurbhanj, running of special train in the name of Buxi Jagabandhu and  a new Surat-Bhubaneswar express train.

“We will meet the Union Minister tomorrow at 7 pm at Rail Bhawan in New Delhi. All members of the committee have been requested to join us. We have prepared a memorandum regarding the demands of the State and will submit it to the minister,” said Patro after the meeting.

On the other hand, during the meeting, BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi and commissioner (railway coordination) Manoj Mishra had a faceoff. Alleging insult during the meeting, the BJP leader refused to join the panel in the Delhi visit.

"I was insulted at the House Committee meeting today. Instead of replying to my queries, the officials said they are not answerable to me," alleged Majhi after walking out of the meeting.

Response of Manoj Mishra could not be obtained over the matter.

Speaking to the mediapersons after the meeting, Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “Congress always comes forward for the interest of the State. We have demanded Nabarangpur-Jeypore and Jeypore-Malkangiri railway lines and running of a new train which have been mentioned in the memorandum.”

Similarly, State transport minister Padmanabha Behera said there are many demands mentioned in the memorandum for railway projects in the State.

Speaking about acquisition of land for railway projects, he said, “As per report, land acquisition have been completed in majority of the places”

In response to the allegations of low allocation, BJP said if Gopalpur-Sambalpur railway project is sanctioned, the allocation amount will exceed last year’s outlay.

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