Odisha lawyers demand 240km Berhampur-Sambalpur Railway line

Lawyers from Ganjam, Kandhamal, Boudh and Sambalpur districts and various members of the Bharat Bikash Parishad, along with several social organisations, intellectuals and political leaders met at Bhanjanagar to press for construction of Berhampur-Sambalpur railway line, besides establishment of a Railway Division at Brahmapur, instead of the proposed one at Rayagada.

BERHAMPUR: Lawyers from Ganjam, Kandhamal, Boudh and Sambalpur districts met at Bhanjanagar on Saturday to press for construction of Berhampur Sambalpur railway line.

The lawyers and members of over 10 bar associations of the four districts strongly advocated for the construction of the railway line in the meeting which was presided over by Bhajanagar Bar Association president Abhimanyu Gouda.

They said Kandhamal, which is located between Ganjam and Sambalpur districts, does not have railway connectivity and this has hampered its development. The lawyers said Berhampur-Sambalpur railway line is yet to see the light of the day and this exposes the apathy of Centre and State towards Sambalpur and Ganjam districts.

The Centre had accorded permission to East Coast Railway (ECoR) to conduct a survey for laying the railway line in 2010-11. Though ECoR had submitted a 212-page survey report to the Ministry of Railways, the project is yet to be entered in the Pink Book of the Railways.

As per the survey report, the 240 km railway, to be built at a cost of Rs 5,000, will connect the four parliamentary constituencies of Berhampur, Aska, Kandhamal and Sambalpur. As many as 16 new railway stations will be constructed between Sambalpur and Berhampur and the line will pass through five tunnels, 38 big bridges and 184 medium and small bridges.

The lawyers said Niti Aayog had stressed connecting backward districts across the country through railways.

Notably, there is allocation of Rs 2,957 crore for the 240 km railway line, where five tunnels, 38 big bridges, 148 small bridges and 18 stations would be constructed. The stations are Jagannathpur, Kukudakhandi, Hinjilicut, Aska, Khandarabali, Basudevpur, Bhanjanagar, Mujaguda, Baden, Chakada, Jagarpada, Phulbani, Lakarapalu, Sunamunda, Mundapada, Boudh, Kadaligada and Redhakhol.

The Parishad demanded that the Central and the State Governments allocate adequate funds for the construction of the stations.

They opined that the demand for a the Railway Division in Brahmapur is justified as the city is a commercial hub of southern Odisha.

Among others, Parishad president Surendra Panigrahi, BJP district president Kanhu Charan Patra, district Congress working president Pitabasa Panda, Ganjam Bar Association former president Mohan Singari, Ganjam Chamber of Commerce former secretary Santosh Sahu, Manav Adhikar Surakhya Manch convenor Abani Gayaa and Sanjaya Kumar Majhi were present.