ROURKELA: In the absence of adequate railway services to Southern and Northern parts of Odisha from Sundargarh, various rail users’ groups have renewed their demand to ensure railway link to these parts of the State.
Ahead of introduction of new train timings from October 1, the Rail Users’ Association recently sent memorandum to General Managers of East Coast Railway (ECoR) and South Eastern Railway (SER), while a host of other voluntary outfits are also pursuing the demand at different levels.
RUA general secretary A C Baral said 22 pairs of trains run through Rourkela junction in Sundargarh on the busy Howrah-Mumbai main line, while about 14 pairs of trains run on Ranchi-Rourkela section. However, there are only five pairs of trains between Rourkela and eastern destinations of Odisha including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri.
He said a new train should be introduced between Rourkela and Paradip using the congestion-free Chakradharpur-Keonjhar-Jajpur route.
He suggested the same route should have other trains to connect key destinations of South and North Odisha and Puri-Barbil Express train on this route should be extended till Rourkela.
The proposal of Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in May, 2015 to extend 18417 Rourkela-Bhubaneswar Rajyarani Express to Berhampur to establish direct train service to Ganjam district in South Odisha has been approved.
ECoR sources confirmed that ECoR has agreed to extend Rajyarani Express till Gunupur covering Berhampur, but it is pending approval of the Railway Board.
He said the practice of announcing trains in Railway Budget has been stopped and running of trains on a particular route depends on commercial feasibility.
Rourkela Development Steering Committee president Subrata Patnaik said they are pressing for introduction of another Bhubaneswar-Rourkela Inter-City Express, premium/super-fast trains between Rourkela and Howrah and Rourkela and Bhopal and direct weekly train between Rourkela and Puducherry.