House Panel’s meeting with Railway minister ‘successful’

New Delhi: The House Committee on Railways led by Odisha Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari on Wednesday met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and placed a demand for Rs 5,000 crore allocation in the ensuing Railway Budget.

After a meeting with the Railway Minister in New Delhi, the Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari told mediapersons, “This time the House Committee had a successful meeting with the Union minister and got satisfactory answers. We placed a demand for Rs 5,000 crore for the state in the ensuing rail budget before the Union Minister. Besides, the House Committee discussed different ongoing projects, including the ones in the KBK region.”

“We also discussed the Shitallaplli wagon factory and demanded upgradation of Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Puri railway stations to international standards,” Pujari said.

House Committee member and BJD MLA SN Patro said, “Ongoing railway projects, including Khurda-Bolangir project and Paradip-Haridaspur Road were discussed in the meeting. Besides, we demanded taking up of new projects for which surveys have already been done. We also raised the issue of the Rayagada-Gopalpur and Berhampur-Phulbani railway projects. The Union minister said where SPV can be done, work can begin soon.”

Another House Committee member BJP MLA Pradip Purohit said, “The Assembly House Committee submitted a memorandum to the Railway Minister. Unlike previous governments at the Centre, Odisha got a respectable amount in the last Rail Budget. In the NDA tenure this time, the Odisha government has got the maximum grants, first Rs 1000 crore and later Rs 3000 crore, for development of railway network in the State.”

“The Union minister said as Odisha is a backward state, for development of rail network in the state, the NDA government will consider specially this time in the budget,” Purohit added.

The BJP MLA said, “I am happy the way Prabhu discussed with the House Committee in front of railways officials. He has promised to us that Odisha will not be neglected and I expect that the State will get more in the forthcoming rail budget.”

Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati, who is a member of the House Committee, said, “We raised the issue of extension of five trains up to Koraput with the Union Minister which he promised to consider. Besides, running of two trains – Bhubaneswar-Jeypore and Koraput-Kolkata-Vijayanagarm via Bhubaneswar – was also discussed. Prabhu also assured to consider a new train between Kirondal and Vishakapatnam where only one train is running after the Independence.”

“I am satisfied with the discussion. However, future will tell whether the talks was successful or not,”Bahinipati added.