Sitalapalli Railway Wagon Unit remains a non-starter even after 6 years!

SITALAPALLI, BERHAMPUR: Ahead of the general budget, which includes the railway budget for the first time, the people of Berhampur expect allocation of more funds for the setting up of much-awaited railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli near here.

The project is a non-starter even six years after the central government announced the project. Discontentment is brewing among the local people due to the alleged indifferent attitude of the railway ministry for the project.

The then railway minister Mamata Banarjee had announced for construction of the railway wagon factory at Sitalapalli in her budget speech in 2011-12. Since then, every railway minister announced the same every year. In last railway budget, the ministry had allocated a meagre Rs 1,000 in the budget just to keep the project alive.

The project was to be implemented in public-private partnership (PPP) mode and the ministry had sought 100 acres from the state government. The district administration has already identified 101 acres for the project.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written several letters to the railway ministers to staart the project since it was announced. The railway ministry only keeps the project alive by allocating a meagre amount every time(budget), said state’s higher education minister and BJD leader Pradeep Panigrahy. “When we are ready to extend all necessary help for implementation of the project, we don’t know why the Centre is not implementing it?” asked Panigrahy.

The project might be delayed due to lack of sincere effort of the state government in mounting pressure on the central government, said former Union minister and senior Congress leader Chandra Sekhar Sahu. Ironically, the project was announced by the ralway ministry when he was a central minister.