ROURKELA: The demand for rail link between Jharsuguda and Allahabad via Sundargarh district (Odisha), Gumla (Jharsuguda) and Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh) has raised its head again. Recently, BJP leader HS Sarangi and others from Sundargarh through a memorandum requested Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, during his Jharsuguda visit, to expedite the project. The Minister is learnt to have immediately sought a status report regarding the project which has been lying in cold storage for years.
Earlier, the demand was raised by Dilip Singh Judev of Jashpur royal family and BJP Lok Sabha member from Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) along with core committee members from Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh with the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in 2009.
Judev in a letter, signed by hockey icon Dilip Tirkey and octogenarian Bihari Lall Patel of Sundargarh, had insisted on a survey for the Jharsuguda-Allahabad rail route via Sundargarh, Tapkara, Jashpurnagar, Gumla, Ambikapur, Sidhi and Nuagaon covering tribal belts of the three States.
Judev had cited that the 300-km proposed rail route would significantly reduce distance between Jharsuguda and Allahabad and underlined the need for it citing poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, migration of local poor workforce, trafficking of tribal girls and lack of industrial growth due to lack of rail connectivity.
Judev along with Raigarh MP of BJP Vishnu Deo Sai, who is now Union Minister of State for Steel and Rajya Sabha member Shiv Patap, both from Chhattisgarh, had written to the Railway Ministry in 2011. Patel said after sudden demise of Judev in 2013, the movement for the project had slowed down. But he would try to take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Between 2010 and 2011, Sundargarh’s Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi, Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das and Korba Lok Sabha member (Chhattisgarh) Charan Das Mahanta too had drawn attention of the Railway Ministry, while Tirkey as BJD’s Rajya Sabha member had raised the issue in the Upper House in May 2012. In an RTI reply to Santosh Amat, the Railway Board in May 2013 had informed that as announced in Railway Budget 2012-13, two surveys for a new rail line from Ambikapur to Jharsugda to connect Delhi main line and Ambikapur to Jharsguda via Batul, Sitapur and Pathalgaon were underway, but the project was not sanctioned.
Demand was raised with Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee
several MLAs drew attention of the Railway Ministry
Tirkey raised the issue in RS
Railway Board informed that two surveys for a new rail line were underway