BHUBANESWAR: Expressing his disappointment over the proposal of East Coast Railway (ECR) to divert an existing Rajdhani Express to run via Sambalpur once a week from February 10, 2018, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today demanded introduction of a new train to run from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi via Sambalpur.
"As this will reduce the service of Rajdhani for the existing route, I would request that this decision may be reviewed and a new Rajdhani train may be given to Odisha, thereby restoring the frequency of the diverted train," the chief minister said in a letter to railway minister Piyush Goyal today.
Stating that he has tried to impress upon successive railway ministers on the need and demand of the people of Odisha for better train services, the chief minister said the state and its western region in particular has been neglected since long even though Odisha continues to give the highest revenue to the Indian Railways year on year.
"To mitigate this feeling of neglect being experienced by the people of my state, I have been asking for more and better types of train services to fulfill their legimitate demands," Naveen said and added, "It is also significant to note that passenger growth for the Indian Railways is extremely high in Odisha as compared to most other states."
The chief minister said he was happy that after a long time Railways agreed to run a Rajdhani train via Sambalpur which was confirmed by the railway minister during the meeting between two leaders on September 29 at New Delhi.
Naveen, however, said the route notified for the Rajdhani Express via Sambalpur has evoked strong resentment among people as its stoppages have not been properly planned.
Whereas the existing Rajdhani Express goes through Bhadrak and Balasore districts and stops at these district headquarter stations, the new train would not be stopping at the major district headquarter towns Dhenkanal and Angul, the chief minister said and added that this defeats the very purpose of a Rajdhani Express via Sambalpur.
He requested the railway minister to consider the needs of the people of these towns and sanction stoppages at Dhenkanal and Angul stations.