Bhubaneswar: Former minister and BJD Rajya Sabha member A U Singhdeo has appealed to the Centre to take up Khurda-Balangir railway line project on a priority basis as it will provide a link to the backward KBK region in the State.
Participating in the budget discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Singhdeo said the Khurda-Balangir railway line project announced two decades back has still not been completed due to lack of funds. This year also, only Rs.100 crore has been provided to the project in the Railway budget, Singhdeo said and added that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has decided to provide land free of cost and also bear 50 per cent construction cost of the project.
He said though allocation of Rs.1420 crore for Odisha in the 2014-15 Railway budget is more than last year’s provision, it is significantly less than the State’s demand of Rs.3,160 crore. As far as Railways are concerned, Odisha continues to be a neglected State, he said.
Singhdeo demanded that the recently announced Indian Institute of Management (IIM) for Odisha in the budget should be set up in Balangir in view of the economic backwardness of the area which would help boost the overall development in KBK region. He also requested the Centre to expedite the establishment of three new medical colleges in Odisha as announced earlier this year.
Singhdeo said the Centre should release funds earmarked under different schemes to States in a timely and adequate manner. During recent years, the Centre has been resorting to plan cuts which has adversely impacted fiscal health of the States and scheme implementation, he said.