Odisha cabinet clears alienation of Govt. land for Khurda-Balangir Railway Line

BHUBANESWAR: The state cabinet on Thursday approved alienation of government land measuring 881.745 acres in favour of the Union ministry of railways for construction of Daspalla-Balangir segment of the crucial Khurda-Balangir rail line.

“The land in Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir will be alienated free of cost as promised by the state government earlier,” chief secretary A P Padhi told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The project, to be passed through some of economically backward and inaccessible districts like Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir, was approved in 1994-95. It could not make any headway for years due to poor progress in land acquisition and lack of adequate fund.

For expeditious implementation of the 177-km Daspalla-Balangir stretch, the state government agreed to bear 50 per cent of the project cost and to provide land free of cost.

“Since the cabinet has already approved for alienation of 881 acres of government land, it would soon be handed over to the railway authorities. The process to acquire over 2000 acres of private and forest land is also one and it will be completed in next six months,” said a senior state government official.

Of the 289-km Khurda Road-Balangir rail project, the railway ministry has already commissioned 66-km Khurda Road-Nayagarh stretch. The project is expected to complete by 2020.

As the Centre has already notified only 1235 acres of total 2970 acres of land allotted to Tata Steel and special economic zone (SEZ) near Chhatrapur in Ganjam, the cabinet cleared a proposal allowing the company to utilize remaining 1735 acres to set up private industrial park.

Tata Steel Special Economic Zone Limited is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Steel Limited. As the anchor tenant, Tata Steel has invested over Rs 500 crore on a ferro chrome plant with an annual production capacity of 55,000 tonnes.

The company is also in touch with global investors to set up ancillary and downstream industries in the SEZ.

Among others, the cabinet also approved a proposal regarding lease of 181.77 acres of government land near Sambalpur in favour of IIM-Sambalpur to set up its permanent campus. The government sanctioned the land free of cost. The campus has been functioning from a private technical institute.

The cabinet also cleared a proposal regarding exemption of land premium of Rs 25 lakh in favour of Adim Owar Jarpa, a socio, educational and cultural tribal outfit, for one acre of land allotted to it long back in the capital city.