BALASORE: Even as the State got an enhanced allocation this time benefiting Western and Central regions, North Odisha, like previous years, was neglected in the Railway Budget.
Barring the budgetary provisions for Bhadrak-Nirgundi (third line) and Bhadrak-Vizianagarm (third line) and survey of Digha-Rupsa new proposed rail line, all other demands have been ignored.
People here had demanded merger of the railway lines in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts with the East Coast Railway (ECR), modernisation of Balasore and Bhadrak stations, improvement of Baripada station, Bangriposi-Tata Nagar railway line linking Howrah-Chennai route and an Express train to Mumbai via Balasore.
Government Chief Whip Ananta Das said allocation is not important but implementation is. “Though Rs 150 crore was allocated for Digha-Jaleswar line in 2010-11 budget, not a single rupee was spent. Now this line has been extended up to Rupsa. The allocated funds need to be spent. Our demand for a passenger train to Nilagiri has not been fulfilled,” he said.
For industries, the budget was realistic and people-oriented. Convener of North Odisha Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) Amit Behera said no hike in passenger fare and goods freight for essential commodity is a welcome move. “Use of ICT for reservation, cancellation and complaint handling is praiseworthy,” he said, adding that the linking of Baripada with Dhalbhumgad is disappointing.