State-Centre at Loggerheads over summoning Railway Staff

Bhubaneshwar (BBS): The State Government and the Centre are on a collision course over the latter barring the Assembly Committee from summoning the Railway employees.

The matter came to light on Wednesday as none of the officials of the East Coast Railway turned up at the first meeting of the Assembly committee on Railway chaired by Speaker Niranjan Pujari.

Commerce and Transport Secretary informed the House Committee that the Centre had written to the State Government in June advising not to summon any Railway employee before the Assembly panel.

Sources in the committee said the Centre had taken the opinion of the Attorney General on the issue before writing to the State Government. Taking exception to the directive of the Centre, a member of the committee said there are instances of House committee summoning sitting judges of the High Court.

Members of the committee requested the Speaker to direct the State Government to place all communication, including the opinion of the Attorney General, before the committee. The committee also expressed concern over the slow progress of the Khurda-Balangir railway project.

Even as the State Government has announced to provide free land and bear 50 per cent cost of a section of the Khurda-Balangir railway line, it is yet to demarcate the land and hand over the same to the Railways.

Though the State Government decided in January to provide 50 per cent cost of 177-km railway line out of total 289 km from Nayagarh to Balangir and land for the project free of cost, no tangible progress has been achieved.

Besides, the Government is yet to give forest clearance for the section from 90 km to 112 km. This came to the notice of the Assembly Committee on Railway which met here under the chairmanship of Speaker Niranjan Pujari.

Work on 112-km railway line between Khurda Road and Daspalla under the project has already been taken up and 52 km will be completed by March, 2013.

The committee was informed that the Centre has not given financial sanction for the section from Nayagarh to Balangir.