Rail budget disappointing for Orissa: CM

Bhubaneswar: Terming Mamata Banerjee`s Rail Budget as "hugely disappointing," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said that the allocation for the state was grossly inadequate.

"None of our requests for new lines, new surveys and capacity expansion has been considered which is hugely disappointing," Patnaik told reporters in his reaction on the Railway Budget-2011-12.

While the ministry of Railways was requested to allot Rs 2085 crore for various ongoing projects in the state, only Rs 1168.02 crore had been allotted in this Budget, Patnaik pointed out.

Though the state was requiring the support of a robust rail infrastructure as need for industries, Patnaik said: "poor allotment for the existing projects and non-sanction of new projects will only accenture the infrastructure deficit in the state.

While the state government had requested for introduction of 16 new trains only six new trains have been sanctioned. Even few of the trains announced in the last railway budget are yet to be introduced, he said.

"What is most disconcerting is that, money sanctioned for the ongoing projects in Orissa is getting diverted due to non-receipt of project specific sanction and poor project execution infrastructure," Patnaik said.

The state government`s suggestion to the ministry to treat proposal of rail network and improvement of railway service in Maoist-hit areas as National Project," has been ignored by the Railway minister.

"The Rail Budget is disturbingly silent about our proposal," the chief minister said.

However, the allocation of funds for new lines, gauge conversion, doubling and electrification for 2011-12 is Rs 1168.02 crore against Rs 841.64 crore in 2010-11.

In the Rail Budget, the ministry has proposed to improve facilities at Puri railway station with participatory funding from the ministry of Tourism.

The six new trains which would be introduced in the state include Visakhapatanam-Koraput Intercity Express (5 days a week) via Vizianagaram, Puri-Shalimar weekly express, Puri- Gandhidham weekly express via Durg, Digha-Puri weekly express, Jharsuguda-Bhubaneswar tri-weekly Rajyarani Express and Sealdah-Puri non-AC Tri weekly Durunto Express.

The ministry has also sanctioned Keonjhar-Bhubaneswar Fast Passanger and Koraput-Balangir-Sambalpur Fast Express.