Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The Government of Odisha has demanded Rs 7,200 crore from the Centre to expedite the railways projects, both new and old, in the State.

Informing the development, BJD MP (Rajya Sabha) Amar Patnaik on Wednesday said that the State has demanded Rs 3500 crore for the pending projects and Rs 3700 crore for the new ones.

"We have the rights and we deserve to get required funds from the Centre for early completion of the railway projects. Our legitimate demands need to be fulfilled. The Centre has collected a good amount of GST from Odisha during Covid-19 restrictions. In this backdrop, we should be treated specially in the budget," Patnaik said.

Rubbishing the allegations of State's failure in acquiring land, Patnaik said such statement has become stereotype. The State has already provided required lands and funds for many projects, he claimed.

The Rajya Sabha member also wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, expressing concern over the delay in commencement and completion of many pending and new projects even though the State has completed all formalities.

"The Railways have not started work at several places where the State Government has not only handed over land to the Railways for commencement of work, but also financial resources have already been tied up by the State for initiation of such works," Patnaik stated.

The projects, works of which are yet to be commenced are-

  1. Re-development of Bhubaneswar Railway Station.
  2. Puri- Konark railway line (Odisha has offered 50% of land and construction cost for the project)
  3. Gunpur - Theruvalli line
  4. Wagon Factory at Sitalpalli in Ganjam, land for which has already been earmarked.
  5. Electric Locomotive POH in Kalahandi
  6. Khurda- Bolangir line (Only 15 kilometers out of 50 Km commissioned on Bolangir side and 76 out of 112 km commissioned on Khurdha side despite availability of required land).

Apart from these pending projects, some new projects, which had been promised, are yet to be taken up, Patnaik mentioned.

The proposed new projects are-

  1. Jaleswar- Digha BG New railway line (sanctioned in 2010-11)
  2. Jharsuguda-Ambikapur railway line via Sundargarh
  3. Mayurbhanj - Buramara to Chakulia
  4. Bargarh - Nuapada line
  5. Jajpur - Dhamra

Patnaik also demanded passenger railway services for western Odisha with introduction of Rajdhani Express and Tejas Express.