Shifting of wagon factory: CM seeks clarification from Railway minister

Bhubaneswar: Taking note of the statewide resentment over the news about shifting of the proposed Wagon Maintenance Workshop from Narla in Odisha’s Kalahandi district to Andhra Pradesh as published and aired in the media, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has sought a clarification from Railway minister Suresh Prabhu in this regard.

In a letter on Tuesday, the chief minister, while thanking the Railway minister for sanctioning some new railway lines and allocating Rs 4682 crore for Odisha in the rail budget for 2016-17, said recent media reports on shifting of the proposed Wagon Maintenance Workshop from Narla to Andhra Pradesh is a matter of concern for the state.

He said the then Railway minister had announced in Railway Budget 2013-14 the setting up of a new Wagon Maintenance Workshop at Narla in Kalahandi district for which the state government had offered two patches of land measuring 70.02 acres and 44.70 acres near Narla Road Station.

On the other hand, East Coast Railway (ECoR), after the budget announcement, had requested the state government for permission to draw water from Tel river for free or at a subsidised rate and the state government had responded by granting complete exemption of Water Tax. This was communicated to ECoR immediately in December, 2013, Patnaik said.

Drawing the attention of the Railway minister, the chief minister said there had been no sanction of funds for the proposed wagon workshop at Narla in 2015-16 and 2016-17 Railway budgets though sanction had been made for a new Wagon Maintenance Workshop for ECoR at Visakhapatnam in the 2015-16 budget.

Expressing grave concern over the issue, he said Kalahandi, being a part of the KBK area of Odisha, is in dire need of industrialisation.

Stating that while the Railways already have three large coach/wagon workshops in Andhra Pradesh, Patnaik said the East Coast Railway, which is largely present in Odisha and is the number one loading railway zone of the Indian Railway, does not have a single wagon maintenance POH (Periodic Overhaul) workshop which it thoroughly deserves.

He hoped that the recent media reports on the shifting of the Wagon Maintenance Workshop from Odisha to Andhra Pradesh are untrue and sought a confirmation from the Railway minister in this regard to assuage the feelings of neglect and hurt which people of Odisha have suffered.