BHUBANESWAR: Though the Centre accepted a number of demands of Odisha Government for development of railway infrastructure in the State, the plea for a rail-based Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) is yet to be fulfilled.
Reacting to the enhanced provision for Odisha in 2016-17 Railway Budget, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The Chief Minister, however, said considering the fact that the State Capital has emerged as number one Smart City in the country, Railways can still include MRTS for greater Bhubaneswar area.
Railways has announced special projects such as circular railway for Delhi, two new elevated sub-urban lines for Mumbai and development of sub-urban network for cities of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala only, he said.
The Chief Minister said though two new locomotive factories have been announced in Make In India scheme, the already sanctioned wagon factory at Sitapalli, which was announced in 2011-12, has got only a token provision of `1000. Naveen expected that the grant for wagon factory will be enhanced this year.
Besides, the Chief Minister expected Odisha to get its fair share of new trains under Antodaya, Humsafar, Tejas and Uday schemes announced in the budget.
The State Government is committed to redevelop Bhubaneswar station with world class facilities and has been demanding re-development of Bhubaneswar New, Puri, Naraj and Cuttack stations. Announcement has been made in the budget for redevelopment of 400 stations under PPP mode. "We hope and expect important stations of Odisha are taken up under this scheme," he said.
Leader of the BJD Parliamentary party in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahatab also welcomed the Railway Budget. Describing it as positive and forward looking, Mahatab said though all the demands made by Odisha have not been met, the dedicated freight corridor from Kharagpur to Vijayawada will not only enhance connectivity to three major ports of Odisha, it will also usher in industrialisation along the rail line.
Two new rail lines in undivided Koraput district will usher in industrial development in the area, Mahatab said and added that attempt should be made to spend the money in time.