KENDRAPARA: The political parties of the district including BJD, CPM, CPI and Congress have condemned the step-motherly attitude of the Centre so far as railway projects in the State is concerned. The Railway Budget presented in the Parliament on Monday allocated `187 crore towards 82-km Haridashpur-Paradip railway project against the requirement of `300 crore.
“We are shocked to know that the Railway Minister allocated a meagre amount for the project,” said Kalpana Mallick, a senior BJD leader of Kendrapara.
Due to paucity of funds, the project has been moving at a snail’s pace for more than a decade. In 1999, the railway authority had estimated `594 crore to complete the project. Now its cost has escalated to `1,559 crore. The proposed project of constructing 82 km railway track will cover three districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur. The authorities have already acquired 1780 acres of land for the project.
The then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar had laid the foundation stone near Marshaghai to build the railway line on April 4, 1999 and promised to complete the construction work by 2004. But the foundation stone laid by Kumar stands a mute spectator to the failed project. Interestingly, the work on the construction of major bridges over rivers Mahanadi and Luna as part of the proposed rail connectivity is in progress.
On completion, the distance by rail between Daitari-Banspani iron ore belt and Paradip port will be reduced almost by half. However, local BJP leaders praised the Railway Minister for granting `187 crore for the project. “Last year, the Railway Budget granted only `72.46 crore for the project,” said Ganyaranjan Beura, a local BJP leader.