BARBIL: The Barbil Bikas Parishad, a local outfit, has sought a direct link between Barbil and Joda’s Banspani stations under Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway (SER). A memorandum in this regard has been sent to new Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
Members of the outfit said though SER collects crores of rupees as freight charges towards transportation of iron ores from a number of railway sidings operating in the mining belt, the passenger service is dismal.
Since 2009, a passenger train is running from Puri to Barbil on Jakhpura-Banspani route. But as there is no direct rail line between the 17-km stretch from Banspani to Barbil stations, the train has to run an extra 70 km via Jharkhand, causing inconvenience to passengers.
Besides, adding to the woes of Barbil residents, operation of the passenger train has been suspended since March last year due to Covid-19. Notably, a rail project to connect Barbil station with Barsuan and Kharagpur-Rourkela main line was placed in 2016-17 Railway budget. Proposed to be implemented in SPV mode, the project was included in Odisha Rail Infrastructure Development Ltd. However, it is yet to make any progress, the members alleged.