The first survey for the Balangir-Khurda Road rail link was done in 1945.Work on it, however, remains a non-starter despite the fact that the project is discussed before every Railway Budget.
The inordinate delay in commissioning the 289-km rail link, mainly due to problems over land acquisition, has even escalated the project cost significantly.
In 1945 this rail link was first surveyed by the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) administration which had found the rail link important as it connected most backward undivided districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Koraput and Phulbani with Bhubaneswar.
As per official reports, the initial survey was completed in seven years and Rs 4.98 crore was planned for the primary onstruction work. In 1994, the project cost went up to Rs 338 crore and reached Rs 1,100 crore in the last budget. However, only Rs 20 crore was allotted in 2007-08 and Rs 6.34 crore could be spent while out of Rs 32.40 crore allotted in 2008-09, only Rs 3.50 crore was spent.
Similarly, Rs 28.07 crore was allotted in 2009-10 and the expenditure was Rs 19.36 crore only while the Railway Budget of 2010-11 sanctioned Rs 120 crore, the allocation was cut to half in the last budget as funds could not be spent.
The railway line which will pass through Khurda, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir would require construction of 11 tunnels measuring 6.30 km, around 435 bridges including one 660-mt-long bridge over the river Tel besides culverts and such other construction. Although the matter has been taken up by Balangir MP Kalikesh Singhdeo with the General Manager of East Coast Railways, completion of the project remains a distant dream.