More funds demanded for proposed wagon factory

Berhampur: Leaders of various political parties in Odisha's Ganjam District have sought more funds in the railway budget for the proposed wagon factory near Berhampur, new rail lines from Gopalpur to Rayagada and Berhampur to Sambalpur via Phulbani and a direct train from Berhampur to New Delhi.

Besides a daily train from Berhampur to Puri, another from Berhampur to Surat and according model station status to Berhampur have also been demanded.

"I have already apprised railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal of the grievances of the people of the region and urged him to give priority to these projects in the railway budget," said BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Renubala Pradhan.

A railway wagon factory was announced to be set up at Sitalapalli in the 2011-12 railway budget. In the last budget, Rs 1 crore was alloted for it. The state government has also identified around 100 acre for the factory.

The planning Commission accorded 'in principle' approval to railway ministry's proposal for laying of 258 km railway line from Gopalpur to Rayagada in June 2012. The estimated cost of the new line was about Rs 1,392,32 crore.

Congress leader and former union minister Chandra Sekhar Sahu said he has written a letter to the railway minister to provide more funds for these projects and sanction a train from Berhampur to New Delhi. The survey work for Gopalpur-Rayagada line was conducted when Sahu was union minister. "It's my dream to see the port town is connected to the industrial town," Sahu said.

"These rail projects are necessary as several major industries and port projects are coming up. Since the state government is ready to extend cooperation for execution of the projects, we hope the railways will allocate funds for these projects," said MLA (Gopalpur) Pradeep Panigrahi.

Development of Berhampur railway station is also badly needed, said Arjuna Sahu, president of senior citizen's forum here.