Wednesday, May 30, 2007
(1) Connecting Phulbani with Bhubaneswar such as;
Puranakatak (Boudh dist) - Phulbani (kandhamal dist)
This could be extended to make a network in following route.
Puranakatak (Boudh dist) - Phulbani (kandhamal dist) - Baliguda (Kandhamal dist)-Lanjigarh road
This route will additionally help to reduce distance between Bhawanipatna and Bhubaneswar and connect Baliguda with Phulbani.
(2) Connecting Malkangiri and Nawarangpur districts with Bhubaneswar such as;
Malkangiri – Jeyapore – Nawarangpur – Junagarh
But instead of connecting Nawarangpur with Junagarh similar to NH 201, better to connect via Dharamgarh (merely 10km extra length) because it would benefit a lot to local people (i) for those who visit Dharamgarh sub-divisional offices from Koksara, Jaipatna, Junagarh, Kalampur and Dharamgarh blocks, & (ii) for those who visit Bhawanipatna district head quarter from Dharamgarh, Koksara, Golamunda and part of Junagarh blocks.
So the proposed line could be explored in the following route;
Malkangiri (Malkangiri Dist) – Boipariguda (Koraput Dist) - Jeypore (Koraput Dist) – Boriguma (Koraput Dist) -Nabarangapur (Nabarangapur Dist)– Maidalpur (Nabarangapur Dist) – Ampani (Kalahandi Dist)– Moter (Kalahandi district) - Dharamgarh (Kalahandi district) - Junagarh (Kalahandi district)
(3) Connecting Ramagiri Udayagiri (Gajpati Dist) with Bhuabaneswar, Gopalpur and Rayagada such as;
Gunpur (Rayagada Dist) – Ramagiri Udayagiri (Gajpati Dist)– Digapahandi (Ganjam Dist)-Berhampur (Ganjam Dist) – Gopalpur (Ganjam Dist)
This will help to reduce the distance between Bhubaneswar and Koraput/Jeypore/Rayagada and connect South Orissa with Gopalpur port.
(4) A route to connect the most infamous and unexplored region of Kalahandi and Nuapada districts, which actually made at first KBK region infamous and opened the eye of social workers about poverty and backwardness in this part, could be explored. For example, the most poverty and backward region in KBK districts comes under Golamunda, Thuamul Rampur, Lanjigarh, Sinapali, Komna, Khariara and Nuapada blocks. This railway line would make Golamunda, Sinapali, Komna, Khariara and Nuapada blocks, which are still infamous for poverty, malnutrition, backwardness etc, accessible to outer world. So a railway track should be explored in this route such as;
Dharamgarh (Kalahandi Dist) - Golamunda (Kalahandi Dist)- Sinpali (Nuapada Dist) - Khariar (Nuapada Dist)– Nuapada (Nuapada Dist)- Nuapada road– Padampur (Bargarh Dist)- Bargarh (Bargarh Dist)
This route will connect another backward region Padampur with Bargarh which is a long standing demand. There are also demands to connect Khariar and Sinapali with Nuapada, Golamunda and Dharamgarh with Bhawanipatna and Padampur with Nuapada. This route will serve all the purposes.
Monday, May 28, 2007
- Parlakhemundi, the district headquarter of Gajapati will be on Broad gauge rail and will be 305 kms from Bhubaneswar (the state capital). [c]
- Sonepur, the district HQ of Sonepur district will be on Broad gauge rail and will be 259 kms from Bhubaneswar (the state capital). [a]
- Boudh, the district HQ of Boudha district will be on Broad gauge and will be 217 kms from Bhubaneswar (the state capital).[a]
- Nayagarha, the district HQ of Nayagarha district will be on Broad gauge and will be 84 kms from Bhubaneswar (the state capital). [a]
- Bhawanipatna, the district HQ of Kalahandi district will be on Broad gauge and will be 450 kms from Bhubaneswar via Balangir [a,b] and 504 kms from Bhubaneswar (the state capital) via Gunupur. [b,c,d]
- Balangir, the district HQ of Balangir district will now be 309 kms from Bhubaneswar instead of the earlier 397 kms. [a]
- Nawapara Rd, near the district HQ of Nawapara district will now be 459 kms from Bhubaneswar instead of the earlier 547 kms. [a]
- Rayagada, the district HQ of Rayagada district will now be 419 kms from Bhubaneswar instead of the earlier 502 kms. [c,d]
- Koraput, the district HQ of Koraput district will now be 573 kms from Bhubaneswar instead of the earlier 676 kms. [c,d]
- Titlagarh, a major junction will now be 373 kms from Bhubaneswar instead of the earlier 461 kms. [a]
Two further extensions of Junagarh-Nawarangpur and Jeypore-Malkangiri will bring two other KBK district HQs to be connected to the broad gauge railways.
Following explains the calculations [orissalinks] :
- Parlakhemundi-Naupada Rd is 40 kms and Naupada Rd to Bhubaneswar is 265 kms.
- Sonepur to Khurda Rd is 240 kms and Khurda Rd to Bhubaneswar is 19 kms.
- Boudha to Khurda Rd is 198 kms and Khurda Rd to Bhubaneswar is 19 kms.
- Nayagarh to Khurda Rd is 65 kms and Khurda Rd to Bhubaneswar is 19 kms.
- Bhawanipatna to Lanjiharh Rd is 30 kms, Lanjigarh Rd to Titlagarh is 47 kms, Titlagarh to Balangir is 64 kms, Balangir to Khurda Rd is 290 kms and Khurda Rd to Bhubaneswar is 19 kms. Lanjigarh Rd to Theruvali is 74 kms, Theruvali to Gunupur is estimated to be 45 kms, Gunupur to Naupada rd is 90 kms, and Naupada Rd to Bhubaneswar is 265 kms.
- Balangir to Khurda Rd is 290 kms and Khurda Rd to Bhubaneswar is 19 kms. Balangir to Sambalpur is 118 kms, Sambalpur to Talcher Rd is 169 kms, Talcher Thermal to Barang is 94 kms and Barang to Bhubaneswar is 16 kms.
- Nawapara Rd to Titlagarh is 86 kms and Titlagarh to Balangir is 64 kms.
- Rayagada to Theruvali is 19 kms, Theruvali to Naupada Rd is estimated to be 135 kms and Naupada Rd to Bhubaneswar is 265 kms. Rayagad to Vijainagaram is 124 kms and Vijainagaram to Bhubaneswar is 378 kms.
- Koraput to Rayagada is 174 kms.
- Titlagarh to Balangir is 64 kms.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Tribal land subsidizing some metro rails: tribals ride on roof of freight trains
Chitta Baral, Professor, Arizona State University, email@example.com
By all measures the achievements of Indian Railways over the last two years have been phenomenal and everyone associated with this turnaround, and especially the railway minister Mr. Lalu Yadav, deserve all the kudos that are coming their way. These achievements and the resulting euphoria has propelled the Railways towards many ambitious and further profit making plans such as a dedicated freight corridor. However, we hope that in this euphoria, the Indian Railways (IR) instead of forgetting its social responsibilities uses part of the profit to make amends to its past inequities.
Consider the following. During 2003-2004 and 2004-05 with respect to the working expense as part of gross earnings the top two profitable railway zones are the South east central-SEC (62.8% and 56.1%) with divisions at Bilaspur (HQ), Nagpur and Raipur and the East Cost-ECOR (66.64% and 61.75%) with divisions at Khurda Rd (near HQ), Sambalpur and Waltair. The top two loss making zones/entities are metro Kolkata (247% and 264.38%) and North Eastern (151.93% and 160.88%). A big part of the profit of the SEC, ECOR and even the profit making South Eastern railway (with divisions at Kharagpur, Chakradharpur, Adra and Ranchi) comes from transporting minerals from various mines in the tribal areas of Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand. Yet, when one considers the railway density – Route kms per one thousand sq km – figures, the two states that are part of the most profitable areas of Indian Railways, are in the receiving end. In particular, while the average rail density (2004-05) for
This indicates that the Indian Railways is not only using profit earned from zones in tribal areas to subsidize various other zones and entities, it has discriminated against the areas from which it makes the most profit. Moreover, many Railway experts often do not distinguish between projects in these areas and other areas and brandish the term “unprofitable populist projects” without distinction. As a result several projects in these areas have languished for years and may continue to languish despite the big profits that Railways has started making recently.
This neglect by Indian railways of these areas has had a social cost. Several districts in these areas are listed among the most backward districts of
We request the Indian Railways and the planning commission to pay as much special attention to this other frontier of
Finally, when establishing new production related employment centers such as the recently announced Rail coach factory in Rae Bareli (cost :1000 crores, direct employment : 5000 people, indirect employment: another 10,000) and the Rail engine factory in Bihar (with similar cost and employment numbers), IR and the planning commission should pick locations keeping regional balance in mind and not just based on where some special people come from. At least one of the above location adds to regional imbalance as IR currently has production units in Kapurthala (Punjab), Perambur (Tamil Nadu), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Chittaranjan (West Bengal), Patiala (Punjab) and Bangalore (Karnataka). Wouldn’t it be a perfect implementation of the UPA common minimum program with respect to tribals if the next production unit is located in a tribal and backward district and surrounded by such districts? Such actions of locating job centers in tribal areas would have a much bigger impact than having reservations for tribals in far flung job centers
Indian Railways' overlooked frontier
Chitta Baral, Professor, Arizona State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
By all measures the achievements of Indian Railways over the last two years have been phenomenal and everyone associated with this turnaround, and especially the railway minister Mr. Lalu Yadav, deserve all the kudos that are coming their way. The brochure on Railways at http://infrastructure.gov.in/ highlights some of the achievements till October 2006. It mentions that the freight and passenger traffic growing at the rate of 9.4% and 7.4% respectively during the last two years as opposed to historical growth at 3-4%. Recent news items mention Railways having a profit of Rs 13,000 crores in 2005-06 and anticipating a profit of Rs 20,000 in 2006-07.
These achievements and the resulting euphoria has propelled the Railways towards many ambitious and further profit making plans such as a dedicated freight corridor. However, there is a worry that in this euphoria the Indian railways may forget its social responsibilities. The goal of Indian Railways is not to be a profit making arm of the Indian government -- the Indian government is not a business enterprise, but rather a self sustaining unit that fulfills its social responsibilities and provides for part of the infrastructure needed for
There is a great disparity in terms of railway density -- Route kms per one thousand sq km -- across various states of the country. Using the 2004-05 figures, the average rail density for
While the importance of having adequate Railway infrastructure in
By the other frontier of
among the most backward districts of
This has not gone unnoticed. The Planning Commission in its report comparing the development status of economic infrastructure of Orissa, especially the KBK region, vis-a-vis the country says: "Railways have always played an important role in the economic
development and rapid social transformation in all parts of the globe. It is one of the key economic infrastructures. However, it is most unfortunate that in a poor and backward state like Orissa, development of rail networks has received much less attention of the Central government in the post-independence period." Similarly in analyzing the 69 backward districts of India Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari say: "Rail network is significantly less dense in the backward districts (with the exception of
Hence, although the 2005-06 Railway budget significantly increased its allocation to projects in Orissa over previous years, the 11th five year plan should aim to finish and the 2007 budget should have generous allocations towards some of the unfinished connectivity in the above mentioned forgotten frontier straddling Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. This includes the lines
There are several other dangling lines in the above mentioned states where the end points are mining locations. The resulting lack of connectivity has resulted in almost zero passenger services and as a result local inhabitants, mostly tribals, often travel on the roof
of freight trains and this has resulted in several tragic incidents with loss of lives. Some of these end points are Barsuan, Kiriburu, Gua, Bolanikhadan, Badampahar and Gurumahisani and the 11th plan must aim to connect as many of them as possible through the already surveyed and/or initiated connections such as Talcher-Barsuan, Keonjhar-Badampahar and Bangiriposi-Gurumahisani.
An irony is that the freight operations in these areas have contributed significantly to the Railways profits, but yet the Railways has hesitated in focusing on completing the above mentioned lines. For example, for the 2003-2004 and 2004-05 the working expense as part of gross earnings of the ECOR zone is the second best at 66.64% and 61.75% respectively. The other profit making zones in those years are South east central (62.8% and 56.1%), North central (76.33% and 66.71%), Central (80.29% and 82.48%), South eastern (81.24% and 83.51%), South Central (85.72% and 83.62%), West Central (80.99% and 84.08%), South Western (91.35% and 86.15%), Western (93.21% and 90.85%), Northern (91.08% and 92.89%) and East Central (93.65% and 98.9%). The loss making zones are metro Kolkata (247% and 264.38%), North Eastern (151.93% and 160.88%), Northeast Frontier (147.98% and 159.45%), Eastern (161.3% and 152.84%), Southern (118.55% and 120.79%) and North Western (106.26% and 104.98%).
The above is illuminating; in some sense the poor and backward tribals and their land in ECOR is generating profits that is being ploughed into subsidizing the commuters in metro Kolkata. In the coming years additional metro lines are under works. This includes
146.5 Km in Mumbai at a cost of Rs. 19,525 crores, two lines in Bangalore covering 33 km at a cost of Rs. 6,207 crores, a three line Hyderabad metro of 66 km at the cost of Rs 8,760 crores, etc. No doubt, for speedier implementation part of the above will be borne by the states, but what about the operating expenses in the future years? These cities are drivers of
Switching gears let us now consider another aspect of the Indian Railways. With 1.6 million employees it is the largest employer in the world. With its aim to significantly grow in the coming years there will be opportunities for the establishments of new employment centers such as new production units. For example, it is reported that the recently announced Rail Coach factory in Rae Bareli at a cost of 1000 crores will provide direct employment to 5000 people and indirect employment to another 10,000; and the Rail engine factory in Bdhaura in Bihar's Saran district at a cost of Rs 1000 crore will give direct employment to 5000 people and indirect employment to another 10,000.
When establishing such units IR must look at regional balance and distribute them across the country. Its recent announcements of a Rail coach factory in Rae Bareli (the constituency of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi) and
Finally IR must watch out the activity of some of the older railway zones that seem to have not gotten over the zone splits and as a result have knowingly or unknowingly acted in a way detrimental to states that are part of that zone but do not contain the HQ of that zone. For example, CAG reported that while the gauge conversion of the Rupsa-Bangiriposi section (in Orissa) in South Eastern Railway (SER) zone was conceived as an alternate to the third line between Kharagpur and Tatanagar, SER adopted a mixed track structure instead of conforming to the standard required to run heavy haul trains, thereby defeating the basic objective of providing an alternate route to the heavy haul freight traffic. If SER is not interested in these lines, and is wasting Railways money, may be the railway ministry can consider