BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought Rs 6,500 crore for Railway projects in the state in the Union Budget for 2018-19.
In a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Patnaik said such a package will help both Odisha and Indian Railways in furthering their goals of economic and social justice.
“This packages includes detailed proposals for the ongoing projects, sanctioning new lines, station modernisation, introduction of new trains, extension of existing trains, improved passenger amenities at stations and others,” the letter said.
He said Odisha generates annual revenue for Indian Railways in excess of Rs 15,000 crore and yet the average route length, with a rail density of 16, in the state is much less than the national average of 20.
Patnaik also urged the upgrade of Bhubaneswar and Puri stations to world class facilities as promised by the Railway Ministry in 2009-10 budget. The railway budget was merged with the general budget from 2017-18.
Railway officials skip deal sign meet: Allege Odisha State Government officials
The pact between development authority and East Coast Railway (ECoR) for execution of the ambitious railway station multi-modal hub at Master Canteen Square area could not be inked on Saturday because the railway officials did not turn up, said state government officials.
The ECoR general manager, who was supposed to represent the railways, cited health problem for not being able to make it to the deal-signing meeting at the secretariat. However, the BJD saw it as a conspiracy to stall the project.
The railway station multi modal hub is an ambitious project that will provide a facelift to the station area here. The venue and time for the agreement-signing ceremony was fixed days ago and the government had put up advertisements on various platforms such as newspapers. “It is a conspiracy on part of the railways to delay the project. Citing health issues, the senior railway official said it was not possible for him to come. We inquired and found he was all right,” said BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb.
The state government had in 2013 decided to develop a world-class railway station in the city. However, due to approval problems from the Centre and the railways in particular, the project did not work out. Later, the plans were amended and an agreement was decided to be signed between the works department and the railways. The Smart City Mission came up for execution in Bhubaneswar and the plans for the railway station redevelopment was amended for the second time. With the new plans, the state government in November last year came up with a revised agreement to be signed between the ECoR and the BDA.