Thursday, April 2, 2009

Advani raises hope for people in KBK region

The Pioneer, April 3, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

LK Advani’s announcement to construct a Kantabanji-Jeypore railway line if the NDA comes to power, has raised high hopes among the people of Koraput, Nabarangpur and Kalahandi.

Coming to know about the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate’s assurance, leading NRO Digambara Patra has appealed to the civil society in the State to highlight the advantages of this lifeline for these three underdeveloped districts. Addressing an election meeting at Khariar on March 31, Advani had said a Kantabanji-Jeypore rail line via Khariar, Dharamgarh, Ambapani and Nabarangpur would be sanctioned if the NDA is voted to power.

The proposed rail line covers Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Koraput districts, said Patra, who belongs to Kalahandi and teaches in the American University of Beirut. It was also proposed for survey in the 2008-09 Railway Budget speech made by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, he said.

The three Lok Sabha constituencies — Nabarangpur, Koraput and Kalahandi — are at the bottom of the socio-economy ladder in India, a recent India Today survey showed. Railway development in these areas will not only boost infrastructure but also bring employment in the region, feels Patra.

A railway factory in Kalahandi will also bring about development as there is no Government-run industries in the region, whereas Koraput and Balangir have got HAL and ordnance factories, respectively, from the Central Government. A railway factory in Kalahandi has been a longstanding demand, said Dr Patra.

Not a single rail line has been sanctioned in Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput, Nuapada, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts in the last 10 years, he pointed out.