House Committee to approve memo on rail budget allocation today

Bhubaneswar: The House Committee of Odisha Assembly will meet today ahead of its discussions with Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu scheduled for tomorrow.

Official sources said the Committee, led by Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari, will meet today to approve the draft memorandum of demands to be presented to the Railway minister tomorrow. The memorandum will demand Rs 5,000 crore allocation for Odisha in the coming rail budget. As per sources, while a demand of Rs 1,050 crore will be placed for ongoing rail projects in the State, Rs 2,200 crore and Rs 335 crore will be proposed for double line and electrification works respectively, sources said.

Prabhu has given his consent to meet the delegation to discuss the matter in New Delhi on January 6, the sources added.

Though the delegation had also sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the matter, it is yet to receive a confirmation from the PMO, sources added.

On December 8 last year, BJD MPs led by Bhartruhari Mahtab and Prasanna Patsani, had met Prabhu and submitted a memorandum demanding an allocation of Rs 5,576.50 crore in the rail budget.

On December 2, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu asking for a Rs 5,000-crore package for the State.

Patnaik maintained that though the State generated revenue worth over Rs 14,000 crore for Railways during 2014-15, the railway route length and rail density in the state are well below the national average and substantially lower compared to the neighbouring States.

In the 2015-16 railway budget, Odisha had received an allocation of Rs 2,514.07 crore against its demand for Rs 3,200 crore. The allocation for the state in the rail budget was 77.04 per cent higher than the Rs 1,420 crore the State received in 2014-15.