Rail connectivity for State’s backward areas

New Delhi: The government today said it was committed to bring the backward areas in Odisha and Northeastern states in the railway map.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told Rajya Sabha said that his ministry is working with Odisha government through Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) and five projects would be taken up under it.

“Through SPV involving the ministries of railways, coal and Odisha government, we would be carrying out five projects at an investment of Rs. 3689 crore. We would be covering 731 kilometres through the process,” he said.

He was replying to a Private Member Resolution on various railway issues connected with Odisha, which was moved by BJD member Bhupinder Singh, but was withdrawn later.

The Minister further said that over Rs. 41,000 crore worth of railway projects were sanctioned for Odisha.

Sinha also promised to bring the rail density in Odisha on par with the national average.

He lamented about “politics” of granting rail stoppages, saying it leads to reduction in the speed of trains, including Rajdhani Express.

Requests for only valid stoppages would be approved in the future, he said.

Earlier, moving the private members’ resolution, Bhupinder Singh said even after 67 years of independence, many districts of the country have not yet been connected with railway lines. He noted that seven districts of Odisha have no railway line.

Demanding more railway connectivity and facilities in Odisha, Singh said about 10 per cent of the total revenue of the railways has been contributed by the state during 2013-14.

Satyanarayan Jatiya (BJP), Narendra Kumar Kashyap (BSP), Kanak Lata Singh (SP), E M Sudarsana Natchipappan (Congress), Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD), Chaudhary Munnavver Saleem (SP) and A V Swamy (Independent) spoke on the resolution.