Rourkela (ROU): ‘Achchhe Din’ seems to be in the offing for the Steel City with completion of several railway projects likely to increase train traffic and freight revenue manifold. Besides, the prospects of a new railway division under East Coast Railway (ECoR) in Sundargarh district after carving out Rourkela from Chakradharpur Division of South Eastern Railway (SER) have brightened.
Well-placed sources said Chakradharpur is the highest revenue contributor to SER. During 2014-15, SER’s freight revenue was Rs 6,062.81 crore of which Chakradharpur contributed around Rs 4,038 crore by loading 82.63 million tonnes of goods. Compared to this, Kharagpur, Adra and Ranchi divisions of SER together accounted for 41.42 million tonnes.
Chakradharpur’s sterling performance was possible due to presence of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) and whopping transportation of iron ore and coal from Sundargarh, Keonjhar and Jharsuguda districts. Besides, it also has some iron ore mines in West Singhbhum district in Jharkhand.
Sources claimed that following persistent demand, the Railway Ministry seems to have taken interest to create a new division at Rourkela. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said he has been consistently raising the issue of new railway division at top level and expressed hope of a positive outcome.
Rourkela Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Subrat Patnaik said the track doubling work from Rourkela to Bimlagarh is underway and completion of the ongoing new track from Bimlagarh to Talcher would script a new chapter in the industrial growth of Odisha. SER sources said at present, 48 pairs of passenger trains including 10 weekly and about 65 goods trains daily run through Rourkela.
Rail Users’ Association general secretary AC Baral said Indian Railways cites the plea of traffic congestion for not introducing new trains.
After completion of the ongoing track doubling project between Sambalpur and Talcher, introduction of another Inter-City Express between Bhubaneswar and Rourkela and direct train between Rourkela and Berhampur may become a reality, he said.