BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday refrained from reacting to the allocations made for Odisha in the 2014-15 Railway Budget, but disapproved the proposal for linking the railway fare with fuel price.
The State Congress, on the other hand, described the budget as disappointing while the BJP maintained that the first Railway Budget of the Modi Government is growth oriented.
“As regards the proposal for linking the railway fare with fuel price, I apprehend that this will affect the common man and expose them to vagaries of fluctuations in fuel price,” the Chief Minister said and added that the Railways should address the concern in right earnest.
Naveen also expressed his concern over creation of a new zone for Seemandhra by bifurcating Visakhapatnam. Stating that the State Government has raised serious objection to the proposal, he hoped that the Ministry of Railways will consider the State’s just demand to protect the interest of backward regions of Odisha.
Referring to the budget allocation for Odisha, Naveen said the State had requested projects worth `3,160 crore but a provision of `1,420 crore has been made.
He said the State Government has agreed to provide 50 per cent cost of construction and land free of cost for Khurda-Balangir railway line project for which an allocation of `100 crore has been made.
Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said as usual the Centre has ignored Odisha’s requirements in the Railway Budget. He blamed the State Government for not pressurising the Railways effectively.
Describing the budget allocation as inadequate, Mishra said the State’s demands for introduction of new trains and sanction of new projects have been ignored. Besides, no allocations have been made for the wagon factories at Kantabanji and in Kalahandi district. Mishra alleged that the Chief Minister is in the habit of writing letters and blaming the Centre for narrow political gains. He called upon all political parties of the State to join hands to fight for the just demands of Odisha.
President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jaydev Jena alleged that there is no proposal for development of railway infrastructure in seven districts of the State.
Welcoming the budget, State BJP spokesman Sameer Mohanty said the focus of the budget is on completion of ongoing projects. State units of CPM, CPI and Samajwadi Party have also criticised the budget for ignoring the demands of Odisha.