KENDRAPARA: The 82-km railway line from Haridaspur to the port town of Paradip covering Jajpur, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts, is likely to be completed in March this year.
Official sources said the first goods train is likely to roll out on the line in March. On completion, the project will bring Kendrapara district on railway map.
Managing Director of Haridaspur-Paradip railway line project Prasant Kumar Mishra said around 95 per cent work has been completed and the rest will be over by March. Signboards and telecommunication systems have been installed and work on level crossing completed. As many as 31 bridges and 171 minor bridges have been constructed over rivers, canals and other water bodies for the project.
The project, sanctioned in 1996-97, aims to facilitate movement of freight, export of finished products of steel plants and imported coking coal from Paradip to industries. The Kalinga Nagar industrial hub along with the mining belts of Jajpur and Keonjhar districts will be direct users of the railway line.
The then Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar had laid the foundation stone of the project near Marshaghai in the district on April 4, 1999 and promised to complete it by 2004. In November last year, the State Government had directed officials concerned to complete the project within the extended deadline of March, 2020.
The project has been considerably delayed in the past leading to escalation of the cost. The Union Government has recently allotted Rs 100 crore for the project. On completion, the rail distance between Daitari-Banspani iron ore belt and Paradip port will be reduced almost by half.
BJP leader and former MLA of Rajnagar Alekha Jena said in the past, Railway Ministers allocated meagre amounts for the project in the budget as a result of which it was moving at a snail’s pace. Construction work picked up pace after the NDA Government granted more funds to the project, he added.