BALANGIR: Members of Patnagarh Citizen Committee staged a ‘rail roko’ agitation at Balangir railway station on Saturday to protest against the meagre allocation of funds by the Centre for the projects in western Odisha and for the laying of railway tracks between Balangir and Nuapada via Chudapali and Patnagarh. The agitators were led by the forum’s convener Bajranglal Agrawal and its leader Bhaktabandhu Naik. Demanding a new train line between Balangir and Nuapadavia Patnagarh, Khaprakhol and Lakhana in accordance with the 2014 survey conducted by Railway Board, the activists detained Sambalpur- Rayagada Tapaswini express and Bilaspur -Raipur passenger trains.
The agitation was supported by the volunteers of Balangir Citizen Committee, tribal leader Niranjan Bishi and other activists there. Thousands of residents of Patnagarh town reached Balangir railway station to participate in the agitation. The Railway Official of Sambalpur Division, Kedarnath Sahu, reached the spot to pacify the protestors. He, later, accepted a memorandum drafted by the agitators.
“This area has remained neglected by the government. The proposed Balangir-Nuapada via Khaprakhol rail line will lead to the development of the region and uplift the economic conditions of locals,” said Bajranglal Agrawal.