CM demands sizeable Rly budget for state

Bhubaneswar: Apprehensive of further slash in railway budget allocation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention demanding sizeable budget allocation for the state at par with the zonal revenues.
 
“I would request you to ensure allocation of a sizeable part of the revenues generated from Odisha within the state to strengthen and expand the rail infrastructure,” the letter read.
 
Noatbly, the Centre has slashed Rs 280 crore in three phases out of Odisha’s budgetary allocation of Rs 723 crore for 2012-13.
 
In his letter Patnaik said, “…the railway route length and rail density in Odisha is much lower than the national average as also substantially lower than that in neighbouring states. In contrast, the gross earnings from various stations in Odisha is estimated to be in excess of Rs 14,000 crore during the year 2012-13.”
 
The BJD supremo who has been requesting the Railways a time bound infrastructure upgradation arrangement for the coming-up ports in state, also urged Singh for a synchronised development plan between ports and related rail connectivity. 
 
Stressing on increase of connectivity between ports in the state and the rest of the country the chief minister said, “…the eastern dedicated freight corridor from Ludhina to Dakuni should be extended to Vishakapatnam so as to ensure seamless movement of freight and the vast northern and central hinterlands of the country.”
 
Patnaik in his letter demanded the construction of rail links including Bhadarachalam Road-Talcher rail link via Malkangiri, Jeypore, Lanjigarh, Sambalpur-Brahmapur new rail link via Phulbani and Rayagada-Gopalpur rail link via Bhismagiri.
 
Emphasising the need for rail connectivity with the naxal hit areas the Chief Minister said, “I believe that delivering rail services in the naxal affected regions is one of the best means to channelize development therein and provide counter active force.”
 
The Chief Minister also demanded execution of world class railway station at Bhubaneswar and Puri, multi-functional complexes at important district centers and major tourist destinations and a rail based urban transport system between Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
 
The chief minister criticised the Central government’s attitude in bypassing the state while preparing mega projects like dedicated freight corridor, national road expressways and high speed train projects.
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