Railway Electrification Unit in Bhubaneswar shifted to Bengaluru

BHUBANESWAR: As a part of the reorganisation of the Central Organisation of Railway Electrification (CORE) of Indian Railways, the Railway Electrification (RE) unit in Bhubaneswar has been shifted to Bengaluru in Karnataka.

In the process, Chief Project Directors (CPD) of various railway electrification units in different parts of the country are being merged and transferred. Due to this, some project works have been transferred to units that are convenient from an administrative and technical point of view. Similarly, other projects will be merged and the set ups of CPD shifted as their works have been completed.

The Railway Electrification (RE) Works in the ECoR zone have been completed. Works like laying of new tracks and the doubling of existing tracks will be done along with electrification by the concerned construction agencies of railways viz. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, Indian Railways Construction Company Limited (IRCON), ECoR Construction Organization, etc.

Notably, the Railway electrification units in Bhubaneswar and Kolkata will stop operating after March 31. In the past, various units at Ranchi, Mathura and Kota have been closed down.

The Railway Electrification office at Bhubaneswar has been shifted to Bangalore for its new assigned works in Karnataka. The works assigned to RE/Bhubaneswar for electrification of Azimganj-New Farakka line in Bengal have been shifted to Danapur in Bihar for better monitoring of ongoing projects, there, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) said in a release.

Similarly, the assigned works for RE/Secunderabad have been shifted to RE/Chennai for better monitoring of ongoing works. Apart from this, RE Establishment at New Jalpaigudi has been shifted to Guwahati.

In view of the above, the restructuring is done for better monitoring of the projects. Railway Electrification Units at Bhubaneswar and Kolkata have been decided to be closed after 31st March, 2019. It is also not the first time that RE has closed down any of its offices. Various projects like Ranchi, Mathura and Kota have been closed down in past.

It is mentioned here that, RE Works in East Coast Railway Jurisdiction have been completed. New works like New Lines, Doubling etc., will be executed along with Electrification by the concerned Construction Agencies of Railways, such as Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), Indian Railways Construction Company Limited (IRCON), ECoR Construction Organization, etc.

Hence, the staff and officers of RE Organization posted in Bhubaneswar & Kolkata will be allowed to continue till current academic session. Thereafter they will be adjusted as per their choice to the maximum extent possible.

It may also be mentioned here that the Staff & Officers from Different Zonal and Divisional Units of Indian Railways; i.e. from Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Waltair, Bilaspur, Chakradharpur and Kharagpur Divisions are deputed to RE Projects to look after construction of RE projects for a few years. After completion of the works or before commissioning of the projects in other RE projects all over India, staff returned to their parental cadre or to their initial units. This is the normal practice for all RE Projects.

The decision of closing the Railway Electrification unit at Bhubaneswar has evoked sharp reactions from BJD, Congress and CPI (M). A letter issued on Wednesday signed by Bhupender Singh Bodh, executive director of Railway Electrification, said member traction of Railway Board and chairman of the board has approved for transferring of railway electrification’s (RE) Bhubaneswar office (RE/BBS) to Bangalore. “RE/BBS projects will be closed after March 31 this year and manpower will be transferred to other projects,” said the letter.

On the other hand, the Biju Janata Dal opposed the Railway’s move. “Shifting of Railway Electrification Unit from Bhubaneswar is a clear violation of model code of conduct and it is a ploy of Bharatiya Janata Party to win elections in Karnataka,” BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said. “It is unfortunate that the railway officials took this step to close such an excellent 22-year-old project office. BJP-led government has done this to woo the voters of Karnataka in the upcoming elections. We will protest this decision and make it an issue during election campaigning,” he added. BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the BJP has always been against the development of the state by shifting projects and offices from Odisha to other states. “The Railways had shifted its proposed wagon factory in Kalahandi district to Andhra Pradesh in 2016. Recently, it has bifurcated Waltair division of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) to create a new rail zone in Andhra Pradesh. Now it took a decision to shift the CORE office to Bangalore. It clearly shows the Central government’s anti-Odisha attitude,” he added. Patra said with the shifting of this office, the electrification work of railways will be affected. “Around 250 temporary staff may lose their jobs. We strongly condemn this move by the BJP in power especially when the Model Code of Conduct for election is in force,” he added.

Congress spokesperson Satya Prakash Nayak addressing a press conference here said the CORE’s Bhubaneswar office has received excellence certificate for the year 2017-18 for successfully completing the electrification work in time and it has around six projects in its kitty. The project office has created a record in the country by conducting double decker electrification testing in Jakhapura-Daitari rail line in 2008, he added.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers led by senior leader Janardan Pati staged a demonstration in front of the CORE’s chief project director’s (CPD) office here on Friday protesting the decision to shift Bhubaneswar office to Bangalore. “We will take up the issue with the Chief Electoral Officer here and Election Commission of India about the decision to shift the office when the model code of conduct for election is enforced across the country. I appeal all the political parties to protest the decision in one voice,” said Pati.