Nayagarh commuters demand express train

KHURDA ROAD: Nayagarh district heard the first sound of train engine two years ago on June 19, 2017. Although it was a matter of joy for netizens here back then, the hopes of improving the rail connectivity has been hanging in a limbo for two years. With just two trains running from Bhubaneswar to Nayagarh, residents here are yet to experience the journey of a passenger train.

Moreover, there is no special train that connects the district. On the other hand, the dreams of an ‘Express Train’ have been left under the clouds of uncertainty.

On the demands from all quarters, the East Coast Railway had extended Kharagpur Special Passenger Train up to Nayagarh July 3, 2018 but the service was discontinued after three months.

Now, only two trains run up to Nayagarh. One train leaves Nayagarh station at 5 am while another departs at 9:20 am. Both trains leave for Puri and take their journey back. Despite repeated demands for a special passenger train, the officials pay no heed, said a local.

Earlier, there were reports that a special train would run from Nayagarh to Paradip. However, it has remained a non-starter. Preliminary enquiries have revealed that the delay was due to tardy pace of electrification of train lines.

History of Khurda-Bolangir line

The Railway Ministry had decided to connect six districts – Khurda, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir with trains decades ago. But the work order was sanctioned in 1993.

The work continued from Khurda to Khurda Road, Begunia and Rajsunakhela. The first train ran from Rajsunakhela to Bolagarh March 20, 2017. Later, on May 11, 2017, a rail engine was introduced on a trial basis after which a 12-bogie passenger train was introduced from Nayagarh to Bolagarh road June 6.

Presently, only two trains connect Nayagarh while uncertainty dogs rail connectivity to Kandhamal, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir.

Rs 34.79L revenue

The railways department has collected a revenue of Rs 34.79 lakh in the past two years from the two trains running from Nayagarh to Puri. While Rs 15.23 lakh was received from June 2017-2018, another Rs 77.190 Lakh was added from June 2018-19.

Although the passengers are increasing each year, the apathy of the Railway Ministry in introducing a special train to the district is evident, alleged the locals. Had, rail connectivity been provided to Kandhamal, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir, the revenue would have gone up further, they added.

Ironically, not a single station has been completed in the past two years. As per reports, the department has planned to build seven railway stations – Nayagarh town, Mahipur, Nuagaon, Daspalla, Buguda and Banigochha.

Residents have urged the railway authorities to complete the rail connectivity project at the earliest.