BHUBANESWAR: The Assembly Committee on Railways headed by Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro will meet Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday at New Delhi demanding increased allocation for the ongoing railway projects in Odisha.
Allocation for Odisha in the Railway Budget 2020-21 was reviewed at a meeting here chaired by Patro with several members alleging that provisions for many ongoing projects have been slashed while no new project has been announced for the State. MPs from Odisha have also been requested to be part of the delegation which will meet the Railway Minister at Rail Bhavan on Tuesday evening.
Provision for different projects in Odisha has come down to Rs 4,373 crore in 2020-21 compared to Rs 5,993 crore in 2019-20. The Speaker said as the Railway Budget is yet to be passed in Parliament, the House Committee members along with the MPs will meet the Railway Minister over the demand. However, BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi walked out of the committee meeting alleging that he was insulted by an official. Expressing displeasure over the attitude of the official, Majhi said he will not be part of the Assembly Committee which will travel to New Delhi to meet the Railway Minister.
Majhi who attended the meeting quit midway alleging that an official did not respond to the questions asked by him on delay in execution of railway projects in Odisha due to failure by Government acquire land on time in many cases. “When I asked about Government’s failure in land acquisition for railway projects, an official present at the meeting said he is answerable to the Speaker only. Therefore, I walked out of the meeting as I felt insulted,” Majhi told mediapersons.
Congress member of the committee Santosh Singh Saluja, however, said delay in land acquisition is not the only problem for implementation of railway projects. He said adequate budgetary provision has not been made for several ongoing projects which will delay their completion.Saluja demanded that a provision of Rs 1,500 crore should be made for the Khurda-Balangir railway project which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced to be his dream project.
The Prime Minister had announced that the project will be completed by 2021. However, it will require Rs 2,920 crore for completion of rest 177 km railway line of the Khurda-Balangir project in two years. But only Rs 520 crore has been provided for the project in 2020-21 Budget which will delay its completion further, he added.Deputy Speaker Rajanikanta Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain, Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera and other members attended the meeting.