Railway Minister launches various Rail Infra services in Odisha

Suresh Prabhu promises online e-Market support for Odisha’s Handloom and Handicraft products
Union Ministers Suresh Prabhu, Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Digi-Dhan Mela at Bhubaneswar Railway Station

BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister for Railways Suresh  Prabhu, was chief guest which was presided by Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (I/C), Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan as the dignatories in the  Digi Dhan Mela held at Bhubaneswar Railway Station on 20.03.2017.

The concept of ‘Digi Dhan Mela’ is the brainchild of Niti Aayog to promote digital or cashless economy through the use of digital mode of transactions across the country.   In the event 23 banks, BSNL, India Post, Common Service Centre, UIDAI, Oil marketing Companies, Balmer Lawrie, Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS, Govt of Odisha), and private e-wallet operators put up a stall each totaling 36 nos. during the day long exhibition and sensitization of digital payment systems and advantages.  Sabyasachi Mishra and Ms.Archita Sahu well known actors and celebrities participated in the Mela.  General Manager of East Coast Railway, Bhubaneswar welcomed the guests.

During the event, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said Rs.36,480 crore is being pumped in to expand the rail network in Odisha to tap the state’s vast tourism potential and abundant mineral and natural resources.

Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off various Rail Infra projects alongwith Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other BJD and BJP leaders including Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Tribal Affairs Jual Oram.

Prabhu first paid tributes to former MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra at his Shahid Nagar residence. Later, he flagged off the various projects of the railways alongwith CM Patnaik. The various projects include:

  • Khurda Road-Rajsunakhala-Khurda Road passenger trains to Bolagarh
  • Rourkela Bhubaneswar Rajyarani Express to Gunupur
  • Foundation Stone Laying of Khurda Road Bypass Line
  • Bondamunda Rourkela 4th line
  • Multidisciplinary Training Centre at Jagatpur Cuttack
  • Maintenance facilities for MEMU units at Khurda Road
  • One lift and two escalators were inaugurated at Bhubaneswar Railway Station\
  • Raising and Extension of Platform 1, 2 and new approach road at Jharsuguda road station
  • Inauguration of newly commissioned Handapa-Saragipalli double line section

Launching nearly 10 new projects at a function here, Prabhu said the Centre is focusing on strengthening the railway infrastructure and connectivity in Odisha to enable the state to chug on the path of development.

Noting that the state is endowed with a very long coastline, ports, mines and minerals, exotic tourist spots and pilgrim centres, the railway minister said huge investment is required to improve the rail connectivity substantially.

Therefore, with an emphasis on building a robust railway network in Odisha, the NDA government raised budgetary allocation for the rail sector in the state to Rs 1,465 crore in 2014-15, Rs 3,712 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 4,682 crore in 2016-17, showing substantial hike from Rs 812.5 crore allocated by the previous UPA regime, he said.

The allocation was further raised to Rs 5,102 crore in 2017-18 to put the state on the fast-track of progress, Prabhu said.

Stating that the Rs 3.5 lakh crore investment is proposed by the railways, he said steps have already been taken for implementing a number of projects with an investment of Rs 36,480 crore in Odisha.

Besides expanding the railway network, the goal is to improve the railway stations and improve train services and facilities for the passengers, he added.

Prabhu said the Odisha government was also extending cooperation for implementation of rail projects and the state has also entered into joint ventures with railways for the development of the sector.

He said the railways would also take steps for marketing of handicraft products and other items produced by tribal communities and women self help groups (SHGs).

Launching various projects during his visit, the rail minister inaugurated the extension of Khurda Road-Rajsunakhala passenger up to Bolagarh Road.

While earlier this train was passing through Khorda town, Begunia and Rajsunakhala, it will now connect to Bolagarh.

Similarly, Prabhu inaugurated extension of Rourkela- Bhubaneswar Rajyarani Express up to Gunupur. He also laid the foundation stones for Khurda Road bypass line, fourth line between Rourkela and Bondamunda, Multi Disciplinary Training Centre at Jagatpur in Cuttack and maintenance facilities for Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) units at Khurda Road.

Offering all cooperation for developing rail network in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the state’s contribution of 50 per cent share of construction cost and free land for Khurda Road-Balangir and Jeypore-Nabarangpur and 25 per cent share of project cost for Jeypore-Malkangiri have made the projects viable.

A video was displayed to sensitize on the need and advantages of digitization.  The Govt. of India initiatives for the same  was illustrated. The invited celebrities spoke on their experience and the need to popularize digital payments to build a stronger India.

In his address Dharmendra Pradhan spoke on the need and the efforts of Govt of India to  shift the focus to digital payments.  He also conveyed the details of launch of BHIM app.

Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Railways in his address emphasized on the changes which has happened and stressing the need to convert to digital payment even in small vendors like fruits, hair cutting salons etc. He also conveyed that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, our Hon’ble Prime Minister being a person with a vision and in touch with ground realities.

The day long event and the formal function was well appreciated by public at large and welcomed such programmes for sensitization.   Footfalls recorded in stalls were of very large numbers and the exhibition area was fully packed with enthusiastic citizens visiting all stalls to understand the facilities available and its usages.  During their visits citizens also carried out cashless transaction in digital mode at various stalls. Vote of thanks was proposed Srikar Nayak, Advisor Niti Aayog.