BERHAMPUR/JEYPORE/KORAPUT: Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday, August 20, 2021, said his Ministry will prepare a holistic programme for development of Odisha in which tribal-dominated districts like Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarangpur will be given priority.
Addressing mediapersons at Koraput during his public outreach programme ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’, Vaishnaw informed that new trains will be introduced in the region. Laying of railway tracks will be expedited on Jeypore-Nabarangpur and Jeypore-Malkangiri lines as soon as land acquisition is completed by the State government.
“’Land acquisition process is on for these two railway projects. I will take up the matter with the State government for early completion of the process,” he said. Besides, widening of railway lines from Koraput to Rayagada and Koraput to Jagadalpur is underway and train traffic will increase once these projects are complete. The tribal-dominated areas are rich in tourism potential and movement of more trains in the region will attract more visitors to Koraput, he said.
The Railway Minister said he has received memoranda seeking demands for special trains from Koraput to other destinations. “I will try to address issues brought to my notice. Focus will be given on resolving unsolved rehabilitation issues. Broadband internet facility would be given to all the villages,” he said.
Earlier at Rayagada, Vaishnaw informed that extension of the railway line from Gunupur to Theruvali has been approved and the expansion work will be expedited. The Union Minister said he will look into the site selection for establishment of a railway division in Rayagada.
On Thursday night, Vaishnaw was given a rousing welcome upon his arrival at Chhatrapur. After reaching Rayagada in the morning, the Union Minister offered prayers at Majhighariani temple. Later, he met eminent social worker and Padma Shri awardee Shanti Devi and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had specifically asked him to meet and seek her blessings. Shanti Devi has worked extensively for development and education of tribal girls. She has also founded an ashram for leprosy patients at Jabarguda under Padmapur block. Besides, she has set up another ashram at Gunupur for education, rehabilitation and vocational training of orphans and destitute children.
Before leaving for Koraput, the Railway Minister met beneficiaries of various Central government schemes. On arriving at Koraput by road, Vaishnaw was greeted by a huge gathering of tribals. He danced with the local tribal women on the tunes of Demsa at Toyaput village. The Union Minister also had tea at a roadside stall with other BJP leaders at Koraput. The Railway Minister is scheduled to visit Nabarangpur on Saturday and Kalahandi and Balangir on August 22.