Centre urged to hasten Gunupur-Therubali Railway line

BHUBANESWAR: Sanction of Rs 935 crore for Gunupur-Therubali railway line in the Central Budget (2017-18) for the railway sector has given the much-needed push for the long-pending project. But it has stopped mid-way, dashing people’s hopes.

The 79-km stretch has been pending for long and repeated demands by the people of South Odisha to the state and Centre have been falling on deaf ears.

Locals of Rayagada district were cock-a-hoop after the project was sanctioned. Unfortunately, the construction of the railway project has been abandoned mid-way.

The matter came to light when Koraput MP Saptagiri Ulaka raised a question on the issue of Gunupur-Therubali railway line during the Parliament session July 2, 2019.

Ulaka, in his question, asked the railway ministry as to why the railway line construction was left half-way, though funds had been sanctioned for the project.

Railways replied that the department needs more funds for the completion of the project. It further said if the state government provides land free of charge for lying railway track, including 50% financial help for the track, it will help complete the construction of the rail project.

Locals have expressed their resentment over the issue and said the Centre should accord importance to the project and the political leaders should take up this matter.

As per sources, for the past 47 years, locals have been demanding a railway line from Gunpur to Therubali and Rs 935 crore was sanctioned for the railway project in 2017-18. But the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Railways said the project needed Rs 302.02 crore more for its completion.

The railway line passes through Kujendri, Penakam, Deula, Ramanaguda and Bankali. Eight mega bridges, 113 small bridges, one over-bridge and 56 level crossings will be constructed under Gunpur-Therubali railway line. For all these 559-hectare more land is required, railways authorities said.

The project will help boost the revenue of the region. The railway line will help in the all-round economic growth and a distance of at least 150 km will be reduced from Damanjodi to Angul to Bhubaneswar.