BHUBANESWAR: When Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu meets Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday, the reported shifting of the proposed rail wagon repair factory from Narla (Kalahandi) to Andhra Pradesh could crop up as a major point of discussion between the two.
Prabhu along with Minister of State Manoj Sinha will arrive in Odisha on a two-day visit. Prabhu is set to attend multiple meetings in Bhubaneswar.
The Odisha Government has been vocal after reports of the wagon repair factory’s shifting surfaced. With no budgetary allocation made for the project for two consecutive years and another similar project announced at Visakhapatnam, Naveen had written to Prabhu recently to clear the air.
“I hope that recent reports on shifting of the wagon maintenance workshop from Odisha to Andhra Pradesh are untrue and I would request a line of confirmation from you to assuage the feelings of neglect and hurt which people of the State have suffered,” Naveen had stated.
The State Government had already offered land measuring over 114 acre near Narla Road station and assured water availability and waiver of water tax.
Besides, the progress of major railway line projects in the State will also be discussed. Speedy acquisition of land is likely to be a major point on agenda. The Centre had sanctioned about `4600 crore to the State in the last Rail Budget and would like to see Naveen Government’s commitment as Prabhu has marked Odisha as a focus State. The Union Railway Minister’s visit also preceded the All India Railway General Managers’ Conference at Bhubaneswar on Friday. Chaired by Rail Board chief AK Mital, all members and general managers (GMs) attended the conference where the zones were handed out their targets for the year. Since freight loading is a major source of revenue, the GMs were presented the raod map for the year.
The conference also focused safety, security, punctuality as well as improved customer services. Improved passenger amenities and on-board services should be given top priority, the GMs were told.
On Saturday, the 61st Railway Week National Award function will be held by East Coast Railway for the first time after creation of the zone. Prabhu will address the zonal heads and felicitate the awardees in presence of Sinha.
“As many as 221 railway employees from across the country, including 17 Zonal Railways and other production units will be awarded at the national function. ECoR will receive the Govind Ballabh Pant Shield for achieving the highest freight loading in the country,” Chief Public Relations Officer, ECoR JP Mishra said.