BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday admitted that due allocations have been made for major ongoing projects in Odisha in the 2015-16 Railway Budget.
He, however, expressed disappointment as no special package was announced for inaccessible and backward districts of Odisha with zero railway network as has been done for North East and Kashmir regions.
The Chief Minister said there is an overall increase of about 53 per cent in the outlay of Railway Budget and Odisha’s allocation has gone up correspondingly. Due allocations have been made for ongoing major projects like Khurda-Balangir, where State Government has committed to provide land free of cost and bear 50 per cent of the project cost, he said and added that some of the traditionally neglected railway sections like Sambalpur-Titlagarh and Sambalpur-Talcher have been given due weightage.
However, Naveen said he was disappointed with the token allocation of `1,000 for the proposed railway wagon factory at Sitapalli in Ganjam district.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram welcomed the Budget describing it as development oriented. Major share of allocations has gone for ongoing railway line and doubling projects, he said.
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said the Railway Budget has proved Modi Government’s commitment to development of Odisha. The State BJP also thanked Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for making the highest ever allocation for Odisha.
The State Congress, however, criticised the Railway Budget as disappointing. President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan said the provisions made are not enough for the State.
Former OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik said there is nothing new in the Budget except speeches. There is also no special announcement for Odisha, he added.
Raising question for not having new trains in the Budget, the State unit of CPI dubbed it as ‘dormant and unusual’.