MALKANGIRI : Delay in approval of the Jeypore-Malkangiri Railway Line project has left the people here disappointed. As per reports, Jeypore-Nabarangpur and Jeypore-Malkangiri railway line projects were announced in 2016-17 budget following which an MoU was signed between Railway Ministry and the State Government on October 10, 2016.
The projects were planned to be executed on a cost sharing basis. However, while the Railway Ministry gave approval for the 38-km new broad gauge line between Jeypore and Nabarangpur, the Jeypore-Malkangiri railway line project has been kept pending. As per the MoU, the State Government agreed to provide free land and pay 50 per cent of the construction cost for Jeypore-Nabarangpur project. Similarly for Jeypore-Malkangiri railway line project, the State had to provide 25 per cent of the land and construction cost, said Nabarangpur MP and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways Balabhadra Majhi.
As the Railway Ministry projected the Rate of Return (ROR) for the proposed Jeypore-Nabarangpur project at -7 per cent, the State agreed to bear the entire land cost and 50 per cent of the construction cost, Majhi said. On the other hand, the Jeypore-Malkangiri (130 km) railway line is a profit making project where the ROR stands at 11.7 per cent. This was the reason why the State Government agreed to pay 25 per cent of the land and construction cost. But now, the Ministry wants Odisha to provide the entire land for the project free of cost violating the terms and conditions of the MoU, Majhi said.
The MP further said the State Government is doing its best to settle the issue at the earliest and he himself has taken up the matter with the Railway Ministry. “The Naveen Patnaik Government is committed to the Jeypore-Malkangiri railway project and is trying to get it sanctioned soon in the best interests of the people of the region,’’ he claimed.
Once the Jeypore-Malkangiri railway project comes up, it will link the remote areas of Koraput and Malkangiri districts which have no railway connectivity. The entire line will pass through the hilly terrain and thick forests en route to Boipariguda, Tangniguda, Mathili and Pandripani road. Of the 130-km route, 43 km falls in Koraput district while 85 km is in Malkangiri, sources said.