Orissa ignored in Rail budget once again

Venting his discontent against the Railway Budget for 2012-13 for its failure to address Orissa’s priorities and concerns, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed the Centre’s allocation of Rs 714 crore for the state as ‘grossly insufficient’.

Patnaik trained his guns on the Centre for raising passenger fares, a move, he said, would adversely affect the common man, including the people of Orissa.

Passenger fares have been raised across the board in the current Budget with the hike ranging from two paisa per km to 30 paisa per km depending on the class of rail travel.

“The Ministry of Railways was requested to allot Rs 2,345 crore for various ongoing projects in the state but only Rs 714 crore has been allotted in this regard. This is grossly insufficient and completely falls short of our legitimate demand. In fact, it is only half of what we have got in the last year’s Budget,” he told mediapersons here.

Patnaik also pointed out that only six trains have been sanctioned for Orissa as against the state’s demand for introduction of 19 new trains. Moreover, some of the trains announced in last year’s Railway Budget like Koraput-Sambalpur passenger and Visakhapatnam-Sambalpur express train are yet to be introduced, he added.

Though 11 new lines have been announced in the Railway Budget for 2012-13, not even one of them is for Orissa, he said, adding that the state has been demanding for expansion of rail network and improving rail services in the under-developed areas and have been requesting the Ministry of Railways to treat them as ‘national projects’.

He also hit out at the Railways ministry for failing to keep its commitment for developing world class railway stations for Bhubaneswar and Puri which were announced in 2010.

The new trains announced for Orissa in this year’s Railway Budget include Barbil-Chakradharpur intercity express, Puri-Bikaner weekly express (via Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Jeypore), Bhubaneswar-Bhawanipatna daily train (via Vizianagram), Puri-Yesvantpur Garib Rath weekly express, Bhubaneswar-Tirupati express and Baripada-Bangriposi pasenger.

The Budget is silent on the state’s proposal for raising frequency of 16 trains.

Though the state had requested for electrification of three feeder links, the Railways ministry has considered the electrification of only one line- Titlagarh-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda.

The current Budget has allocated Rs 107 crore for eight ongoing projects- Daitari-Banspani, Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh, Khurda Road-Bolangir, Haridaspur-Paradip, Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road, Talcher-Bimlagarh, Sambalpur-Talcher and Digha-Jaleswar as against Rs 430.70 crore allocated in last year’s Budget.

For gauge conversion, the Budget has allocation of Rs 2.5 crore for the state while for doubling and electrification, the state has been allotted Rs 532 crore and Rs 71.48 crore respectively.

The Railway Budget has provided Rs 1 crore for setting up of a wagon factory at Sitalapalli in Ganjam district.

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