With a number of railway projects facing delay due to tardy acquisition of land, the Odisha Government has constituted a high-level panel that will work towards facilitating the process. The seven-member committee will be headed by Principal Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
Of the other six members, three are from the Government - Secretaries of Commerce and Transport Department, Works Department and Commissioner Railway Coordination (CRC) and Special Secretary to Commerce and Transport Department. Two members - Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) and Chief General Engineer - are from East Coast Railway (ECoR) while the sixth member is Chief Project Manager of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). The CRC will be the member-convenor.
The move to form the panel assumes significance in the face of pendency of the projects some of which were approved as early as 1994-95 but have not been completed for multiple reasons.
Mostly, private land has been acquired, while acquisition of government and forest land has been slow. In Odisha, major projects are either being executed directly by the railways or by the RVNL.
The 154-km Talcher-Bimlagarh line which was sanctioned in 2003-04 is a case in point. The project, estimated at about Rs 810 crore, has so far seen barely 10 per cent progress. The first 25 km of the project necessitated in 258.93 acre, out of which 141.115 acre was private land, 58.829 acre government and 58.985 acre forest land. So far, 136 acres, mostly private land, have been acquired. The progress in government and forest land acquisition has been tardy.
In some cases, land has been obtained but not handed over while in some, alienation proposals for government land have been submitted before the revenue officials.
Similarly, the Jharsuguda-Rengali doubling project needs 119.85 acres and so far, 57.53 acre private land has been acquired and possession taken. Alienation proposal for the 51.89 acre government land has been submitted while diversion of 10.43 acre forest land is pending with the Divisional Forest Officer. This project, sanctioned in 2007, was originally estimated at Rs 91.41 crore but has been revised to Rs 201.17 crore.
The problem with the 98.7-km Angul-Sukinda line work is similar. Included in 1998-99 budget and being executed by RVNL, it has seen little progress. Notification was been issued for 69 villages covering 1,205.526 acre of private land and so far, order has been issued for 61 villages and possession received in nine villages. Alienation proposal for 219.90 acre government land has been filed while files regarding diversion of 251.06 acre forest land are with the Forest Department.
Slow on Track
•The Rs 810 crore 154-km Talcher-Bimlagarh line, which was sanctioned in 2003-04, has seen only 10 per cent progress
•The Jharsuguda-Rengali doubling project, sanctioned in 2007, was originally estimated at Rs 91.41 crore but has been revised to Rs 201.17 crore
•The 98.7-km Angul-Sukinda line work was included in 1998-99 budget and being executed by RVNL