Monday, August 18, 2008

Roll back rail profit; NROs

Tathya, Aug 15, 2008

Now every body has coolly forgotten about the Ministry of Railways’s continued apathetic attitude towards Orissa.

From the Chief Minister to the Member of Parliament (MP) used to be raging war against the Centre maintaining cool cool attitude, alleges leading Non Resident Oriyas (NRO).

While the Indian Railway Board Chairman is working overtime for the projects in Bihar to be completed in time, the officials are boasting for a whopping Rs.52, 000 crore investment in Bihar by 2011!!!

Media reports say that all the railway projects in Bihar stipulating an investment of Rs 52,000 crore, would be completed by 2011, Girish Bhatnagar, General Manager of East Central Railway (ECR) said recently.

The wheel and axle plant at Chapra, in the parliamentary constituency of Railway minister Lalu Prasad, would commence commercial production within 18 months, he said.

Adding the process of land acquisition for the Diesel Engine plant at Marhowrah and Electric Locomotive workshop at Madhepura was going on full steam, revealed the GM.

Mr. Bhatnagar informed that he had meeting with Chief Minister recently seeking acquisition of required land for railway projects.

Nitish Kumar has issued necessary instructions to the concerned state officials engaged in the task.

Mr.Bhatnagar said while expressing satisfaction over Chief Minister's positive response.

"Both the projects are being executed taking into account the size of estimated traffic by 2050 and would be completed on public-private participation," he said.

While Bihar is fully geared up for the railway expansion, Orissa is in deep slumber, alleged Chitta Baral.

Prof. Baral said that “We have been urging the Chief Minister and the MPs to make the case that all the Orissa projects should also be finished by the end of the 11th plan; but to no avail.

The irony is that to finish the scheduled Orissa projects, no extra money is needed.

It is estimated that Indian Railway will make about 2,800 crore/year profit from Orissa which in 5 years will be Rs.14,000 crores.

The link has all the details:

so if we demand the entire profit to be rolled back in Orissa than there is more than enough for the completion of the projects like Khurda Rd - Nayagarh – Balangir, Lanjigarh Rd - Junagarh - Nabrangpur - Jeypore - Malkangiri - Bhadrachalam Rd , Raygada – Gopalpur, Naupada- Gunupur – Theruvali, Talcher - Bimlagarh and Baripada-Bangiriposi – Chakulia.

All these projects add up to only Rs. 5300 crores.

So if Bihar can aim and achieve the spending of 52,000 crores by 2011, why can not Orissa just ask that profit from Orissa be put in Orissa for the duration of the 11th plan ?, asked Dhirendra Kar, another concerned NRO

Mr. Kar is of view that when we are referring to connectivity to the most backward areas of the country, this should have been harped by the leaders of the state.

With only Rs. 5300 crore out of Rs. 14000 crore spent in the above projects the following railway lines can be taken up in Public –Private-Partnership (PPP) mode costing very little to the Railways- about Rs.1700 crores, revealed Digambara Mishra.

Professor Mishra suggested that Haridaspur – Paradeep, Angul – Sukinda, Bhadrakh – Dhamara and Rupsa – Kirtania can be taken up on PPP mode.

Digambara Patra, leading NRO said that after that Orissa will have another Rs. 7000 crores and it can target lines Lanjigarh Rd - Phulbani – Talcher, Lanjigarh Road – Gopalpur, Phulabni-Berhampur.

Prof.Patra added that Phulbani-Berhampur, Nawapara Road- Bargarh, Talcher-Hindol Road-Gopalpur, Khurda-Naraj Circular Road and Barang-Astaranga railway connectivity can be taken care of with the profits

Only the state has to force the Indian Railways Board for the East Coast Railways (ECOR) profit to be rolled back in Orissa and we are not asking any alms, said Lalit Patnaik, Chief of Agami Orissa.

Deba Nayak, another leading NRO has also urged upon the Chief Minister to take up the issue and force the Centre for rail connectivity to all the 30 districts of Orissa.

Echoing his concern Sandip Das Verma, a leading voice among the NROs has said that connectivity to the worst poverty zones of the country will go in a long way to eliminate Maoist menace in Orissa.

While sitting thousands of miles away from the country the NROs are showing serious concern for their motherland, on the Independence Day almost all the Ministers are busy in making hallow promises to woo the people and forgotten the real issue hurting the state most.