BARIPADA: A seven-member team of South Eastern Railway (SER) on Tuesday started preliminary survey of the 52-km Chakulia-Budhamara railway line which, when laid, will reduce the distance between Puri and Delhi by around 150 km. The railway line will provide an interchange option in addition to the existing Kharagpur-Tatanagar route.
Earlier, a team led by Executive Engineer (Construction) SER Kharagpur Division SP Tripathy had inspected the line. The report of the survey will be submitted to General Manager of SER, said district unit leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Kalinga Keshari Jena.
The project got a push after Bijay Hansda, MP of Rajmahal Lok Sabha Constituency and Kunal Sarangi, MLA of Baharagora in Jharkhand met Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on January 2 to apprise him of the need for rail connectivity between Budhamara and Chakulia which has been a long-standing demand of people of Jharkhand. Goyal had ordered the GM of SER to start survey of the 52-km line and submit the report.
Jena said, survey of the line was conducted eight years ago but was put on hold after Rail Vikas Nigam Limited raised objections, terming it financially non-viable. In 2008, the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had sanctioned survey for the project and also made a budget allocation. Sarangi, who also met the survey team, told Jena that commencement of the survey is indication of the fact that Railway Ministry has taken it up on a priority basis. Goyal is believed to have told Sarangi that the Centre has decided to link Howrah-Mumbai main line with Rupsa-Bangiriposi line through the proposed Chakulia-Budhamara railway line.
The Baharagora legislator had raised the issue during the winter session of the Jharkhand Assembly after which the State Government had written a letter to Railway Board chairman Ashwini Lohani on December 26.
Meanwhile, a member of the survey team visited Baripada Sub-Registrar office for reporting on benchmark valuation of land to be acquired for the proposed railway link. While 70 percent land is in Jharkhand, 30 percent is in Mayurbhanj district.