BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha on Sunday said Indian Railways is trying its best to increase rail network in Odisha.
“It is our priority and the special interest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invest more in States like Odisha,” Sinha told reporters after a review meeting with top officials of East Coast Railways (ECoR) here.
Sinha said he reviewed project works completed last year, ongoing project works to be completed this year and the future action plan for infrastructure development to provide better railway service in the State in coming days.
The Union Minister said priority is being given to areas not having railway connectivity and efforts will be made to ensure timely execution of the new projects sanctioned by the Ministry.
The ECoR has been asked to prepare a roadmap for next 25 years keeping in mind the rapid industrial progress of the State and the focus will be on rail connectivity to ports, he said and added that instruction has been issued for expediting work of Talcher-Bimalagarh new line.
Sinha told ECoR officials that funds will not be a constraint for the ongoing and newly sanctioned projects.
Replying to a question on alleged negligence towards Odisha by the Railways, Sinha said Odisha has got more allocations in the last two Railway budgets which was much higher than the expectation of the State Government.
Asked about the State Government’s demand of new trains, Sinha said he will examine the proposals positively. The Minister further directed the ECoR officials to focus on passenger amenities.
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was present at the review meeting, said the meeting had a detailed discussion on the expenditure performance of the last two Railway budgets and the expenditure for the ensuing budget.
“During my earlier visit to the State, I had a meeting with some industrial organisations and senior citizens who had given good proposals on development of railway infrastructure in Odisha. We have discussed those proposals in the meeting,” Pradhan said.
Efforts are on by the Railway Ministry to incorporate these proposals in the forthcoming Railway Budget. Pradhan said he is confident that the State will get its desired share in next Railway Budget.
Pradhan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate IOCL’s 15 MMTPA state-of-the-art refinery at Paradip in January next year.
The two Union Ministers later left for Jatni to attend the centenary celebration of ECoR Mixed Higher Secondary School.