BHUBANESWAR: The much-awaited wagon factory at Sitapalli in Ganjam district seems to be back on track. Nearly three years after dropping the project, the Ministry of Railway has intimated the State government that the project is back in consideration.
The East Coast Railway (ECoR), which had earlier sought cancellation of land allotment, has urged the Revenue and Disaster Management department to hand over the allotted land. Chief Project Manager of ECoR Anil Prakash has written to the Principal Secretary of Revenue department citing withdrawal of the letter sent to cancel the allotment of 101.6 acre of land.
“Since the project is under review, the letter on cancellation of land allotment is withdrawn. Therefore, kindly arrange to forward the land plan/land schedule. Handing over of land may be expedited as per allotment,” the September 1 letter to the Principal Secretary stated.
The letter came in the wake of the recent visit of Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who was apprised of delay in implementation of some of the projects announced earlier. Sources in the government said the Revenue department will soon start the process for handing over the land for the project, which has been pending since long.
Announced by the then Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in 2011-12, the project was supposed to be implemented in public-private-partnership (PPP) mode was approved in 2013. But it was delayed due to lack of sincere efforts by the railways.
Though as per the requirement communicated by the Railway Ministry, the Odisha government had identified 101.6 acre of land near Jagannathpur railway station, 20 km from Berhampur, the Railways had dropped the project in 2018 after sanctioning token money of `1000 in the Railway Budget till 2016.
No ground work was undertaken despite several letters from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to the successive railway ministers since then. In 2017, former Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain had replied to Naveen citing difficulties in setting up the factory stating that the demand for wagons may not rise till 2024. As the proposed wagon unit was dropped from the list of new projects, the ECoR in a communication on May 11 this year had asked to cancel the land allotment.