Jeypore-Malkangiri Railway line project still hangs in balance

NABARANGPUR: After much anticipation, the land acquisition for the 38 km-long broad gauge railway link between Nabarangpur and Jeypore has finally started. However, the fate of much-awaited project Jeypore-Malkangiri railway link still hangs in balance as Centre and State are now at logger heads over cost sharing.

A broad gauge rail line of 130 kilometres from Jeypore to Malkangiri will be set up under the project that aims at socio-economic development and put Malkangiri on the railway map.

A special land acquisition officer has been appointed to oversee the affairs of Nabarangpur-Jeypore and Jeypore-Malkangiri projects.

As per the detailed project report, land acquisition for Nabarangpur-Jeypore railway project will be carried out in 29 villages, official sources said.

On the other hand, uncertainty looms over the new railway link between Jeypore and Malkangiri as the project remains a non-starter due to Centre-State fight over land cost bearing for the project.

According to reports, the state government had initially offered to bear 25 percent of the land cost on sharing basis for the 130 km long railway line and had signed a MoU in 2016.

Even though the project was slated to be completed within six years of the signing of the link and an outlay of Rs 79 crore was made in the railway budget of 2016-17, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) had raised doubts over the viability of the project running through the red corridor.

As per the MoU, the state government had agreed to bear 25 per cent cost of project and land as well while the rest was to be borne by the Centre. But a letter from the ECoR to bear 100 per cent of the land cost had created controversy later.

After meeting with the state government in this regard this August, 2017 the ECoR had proposed the Niti Ayog to review the project.

Nabarangpur MP and Railway standing committee member Balabhadra Majhi has said that the move is against the spirit of the MoU.

“Once the government has sanctioned to move forward with the project after proposing to provide 25 percent of the land cost, the recent developments are unwarranted and have led to loss of valuable time,”

“We have received the go-ahead for the project and presently land for the project will be acquired at four villages which included Sindhiguda, Kenduguda, and Pujariguda,” Special Land Acquisition Officer Bhim Manseth said.