Rail wagon unit delayed, people worried

Prior to the last Railway Budget, the people of Ganjam had demanded more funds for establishment of a wagon factory near Brahmapur town, new lines from Gopalpur to Rayagada, from Brahampur to Sambalpur via tribal dominated district Phulbani and a direct train from Brahmapur to New Delhi, besides granting model station status to the Brahmapur railway station. Only to appease the public, a meager amount of Rs 1 crore was allocated in the budget for establishment of a wagon factory at Sitalapalli village in the district.

Though the required land for establishment of the much-hyped wagon factory at Sitalapalli under Gopalpur constituency has already been identified, the factory is yet to begin its work causing discontent among the public. It may be recalled here that in the last Railway Budget, 2013-14, the initial expenditure required for the project had been earmarked, but no steps were taken by the Ministry of Railway to start the project work as yet.

Similarly, the survey work for the proposed Gopalpur-Rayagada new rail line has been over four years ago and the required funds for the same has reportedly been sanctioned by the Central Planning Commission.

However, the required fund for the execution of the project has not been allocated in the Railway Budget 2013-14, as a result of which the proposed Gopalpur-Rayagada new railway link moves at a snail’s pace, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has reportedly instructed the district administration to provide required land at Sitalapalli for establishment of the proposed wagon factory.

According to sources, the State Government has completed the initial formalities for allocation of identified 101 acres of Government land for the wagon factory and the process of identifying and acquiring some more private lands in the vicinity of the proposed project site is on. However, an inch of the land on the project site is not yet developed.

Reacting to the delay made in starting the factory in the district, former Assembly Deputy Speaker Rama Chandra Panda said that the allocation of a meager amount of Rs 1crore in the budget by the Center for the proposed wagon factory is mere eyewash. The Center has deliberately neglected south Odisha and more particularly, the heritage town Brahmapur in developing suitable infrastructure in the field of railways.

Due to apathy of the Central Government, the extension and modernisation work of the Brahmapur railway station has virtually been crippled. He also made the State Government and its elected representatives equally responsible for the poor state of railway infrastructure of the heritage town.

The elected representatives failed to present the requirement of the public time and again before the Center so as to expedite the long pending demands of the denizens such as execution of new railway lines like Gopalpur-Rayagada, Brahmapur-Sambalpur-via-Phulbani, introduction of new direct trains from Brahmapur to Allhabad, Benaras, and Delhi, modernization of Brahmapur railway station, including construction of new tracks and widening of platforms, he alleged.

He strongly demanded early completion of the wagon factory project and introduction of new direct trains from Brahmapur to Allhabad-Benras and another direct train from Brahmapur to Delhi in the greater interest of the people of south Odisha.