KENDRAPARA: Work at the proposed 82-km long Haridaspur-Paradip railway project has taken up pace after `200 crore was allotted for the project in the union budget.
Due to non-allotment of sufficient funds in the past, the work of project had been moving at a snail’s pace since more than a decade.
In 2015, the Railway Minister had thrown a spanner for the project by allotting a meager amount of `36.8 crore against the demand of `300 crore by the State Government to include Kendrapada district in railway map. In 2016, the railway minister had allotted `200 crore for the project against the demand of `300 crore by the State Government.
This year, the State Government had demanded `200 for the project and the Union Minister honoured the State’s demand by allotting the amount.
Now we hope the project will be completed within a year, said Professor Ajaya Samal, the president of Kendrapada Vikas Parishad.
The railway line was sanctioned in 1995-96, primarily to cater the movement of freight, export of the finished products of steel plants and imported coking coal from Paradip to the industries. The industries located in Duburi and the iron ore deposits in Keonjhar district are in proximity to the rail link. The required lands, measuring an area of 1780 acres for the proposed project of constructing 82 km stretched railway line, will cover the three districts of Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur.
The then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar on April 4, 1999 had laid the foundation stone near Marshaghai of Kendrapada district to build the railway line with a promise to complete the project by 2004.
Interestingly, the work on the construction of major bridges on rivers Mahanadi and Luna as part of the proposed rail connectivity is in progress even as the laying of tracks on the bridges does not appear to be an immediate possibility. On completion, the distance by rail between Daitari-Banspani iron ore belt and Paradip port will be reduced almost by half.
Contacted, Srinivas Sahoo, the Joint General Manager of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited of Bhubaneswar said, “Earlier the project cost was estimated at around `1500 crore. But it has already been enhanced to `1800 crore.”
We are building 31 bridges over the rivers, canals and other water-bodies and 164 over bridges for this railway project. The project will be completed in March 2018, he added.