BHUBANESWAR: The East Coast Railway (ECoR) has requested the State Government to bear entire land cost of the proposed 130 km Jeypore-Malkangiri new line citing a substantial rise in the project estimates.
The broad gauge line was included in the Railway Pink Book 2016-17 at an estimated Rs 1,277 crore. However, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared later pegged the cost at Rs 2,343 crore. The cost of land works out to Rs 242 crore, about 10 per cent of the total cost.
Since the project was to be executed in a joint venture, an MoU was signed between Ministry of Railway and Odisha Government in October last year. It was decided that State Government will bear 25 per cent of the land and project cost.
However, a letter from Chief Engineer (Construction) to Commissioner Rail Coordination states that the project was discussed by a committee of the Rail Board in June. The panel felt that the cost of the new line is significant and there is still no clarity about the mining potential of the region.
The proposed line’s projected traffic for determining the rate of return is based on mining and industrial projects in the region which, the panel felt, may not materialise.“The main objective of the project is development of the economically backward area and major beneficiary is the State Government,” the letter stated quoting the panel’s observation. The committee was of the view that land for the entire project should be provided free of cost by the State in addition to the 25 per cent project estimates as laid down in the MoU. The Rail Board advised ECoR to explore the possibilities of getting the land free of cost. The Railways had made an outlay of Rs 79 crore in the 2016-17 budget for the project.