Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leaders call for speeding up work on JKB Rail Project

The Pioneer, Aug 15, 2007
Asit Pattnaik | Keonjhar

The issue of the Jakhapura-Kendujhar-Banspani (JKB) Rail Project has once again come to the fore. The slow progress of the project work and delay in making the existing route under the project passenger worthy has stirred much public resentment as the Keonjhar Citizens' Forum, the East Zone Mine Owners' Association, the Chhotenagpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Barbil Bar Asoociation, the CPI, and several other organisations united to launch a mass agitation.

They demanded for the introduction of passenger trains such as, Puri-Ranchi, Tatanagar -Kendujhar, Rourkela-Kendujhar and Extension of Howrah -Barbil [DMU] to Kendujhar via Banspani and Danguaposi Railway Stations .

JKB Rail Project known to be the most economically viable for connecting the highly rich mines areas to the ports and providing the shortest route to link the eastern and southern parts of Orissa to the northern India has only completed Phase I and the rest Phase II and III are yet to be finished.

Sources said this 155 km-long-project was originally planned in 1970. South Eastern Railways [SER] first started its construction at Banspani with merger funds from the Indian Railways in1990. East Coast Railway (ECOR) after the bifurcation of SER, took the construction works though it failed to utilise the full amount allotted for the project during the tenure of KC Lenka as Railway Minister. By 1993, the SER and ECOR completed work of 56.547 kms up to Kendujhar under Phase I and a small portion of Phase II. The Rail Vikash Nigam Limited [RVNL] finally completed works up to Daitari along with another extended rail line to Tomka (24.39 kms) in Jajpur district totalling to a length of 179.49 kms in three years (2002-06). Meanwhile, the initial projected cost of the route rose from Rs 200 crore to Rs 913.87 crore.

East Coast Railway launched the first trial run of goods train from Nayagarh Railway Station to Daitari Railway Station and since then at least five trains have been plying on an average per day.

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