Thursday, July 17, 2008

CM visits Delhi over rail projects

The Statesman, July 18, 2008
Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, July 17: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik, who is in New Delhi for a two-day tour, called on railway board chairman Mr Kalyan Coomar Jena today and discussed about various railway projects in the state.
The chief minister emphasised on the need for expansion and augmentation of railway infrastructure in the state.
“As the state is on the threshold of a major industrial upsurge, this will necessitate laying of new railway links and bulk cargo handling and hence, there is an urgent need for development of railway infrastructure,” the chief minister pointed out.
Mr Patnaik rued over the fact that the railway route length in the state is well below the national average and also much less than the neighbouring states.
Referring to the pending Khurda Road-Bolangir line, the chief minister said that there has been very little progress in the project. Only Rs 32 crore have been sanctioned during the current financial year, the chief minister pointed out and stressed for increased allocation for the crucial project.
Maintaining that the KBK districts have a high percentage of tribal population, he stressed on the need for sanction of Jeypore-Malkangiri (117 km) line for which survey has already been completed. The advent of railways would lead to socio-economic development of the region, the chief minister felt.
"The state government has entered into MoUs for setting up of two alumina plants in that region and in that context, Lanjigarh Road- Junagarh new BG railway link assumes immense importance," the chief minister said while stressing on early commissioning of Lanjigaarh-Bhawaniptna section.
The government is committed for development of Gopalpur, Dhamra and Subarnarekha mouth (Kirtania) ports into all-weather ports along the coast line, the CM reiterated and emphasised on the railway lines connecting Rupsa-Burhamara to Chakulia (50km), Nuapada-Gunupua BG rail link to Theruvali (79km) and Bansapani-Barbil for which preliminary surveys have been completed. While underlining the need for expeditiously completing the residual work on Daitari-Banspani BG rail link, he suggested introduction of an intercity express between Bhubaneswar and Jamsedpur via Keonjhar. He further suggested for early commissioning of Cuttack-Barang doubling. The chief minister pressed upon the need to consider increased allocation of funds to ensure speedy execution of the sanctioned projects and also sanctioning of new projects.
Expressing happiness over identification of Bhubaneswar as one of the locations for a world class railway station, Mr Patnaik emphasised the need for introduction of new trains, extension and increase in frequency of mail and express trains, improved passenger amenities at the stations. “Although four new trains and one extension were announced in this railway budget, they have not yet been introduced,” Mr Patnaik drew Mr Jena’s attention.
The chief minister also expressed interest for early normalisation of Balsore-Kharagpur section and restoration of normal coaching services as 19 trains will stand cancelled because of the breach of railway track between Contai Road and Bakhrabad in the recent floods.
The railway chairman Mr Jena informed the chief minister that Puri-Keonjhargarh train services will be introduced before October this year. This apart, the other project works highlighted by the chief minister would soon be expedited, Mr Jena assured.
East Coast Railway general manager Mr AK Goyal, who was present at the meeting, suggested for evolvement of a new policy which would help in expediting the sanctioned works.

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