Central neglect back on BJD agenda as Padampur fight gets tougher

The BJD also raised the issue at a media conference here alleging that in the last five years, the Centre has not sanctioned even a single new line for Odisha which is solely Centre funded.

Published: 21st November 2022 08:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2022 08:12 AM   |  A+A-

BJD flag, Biju Janata Dal

Representational photo of Biju Janata Dal flag (Photo| Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: As campaigning for Padampur by-election has intensified, BJD has once again gone back to the theme of Central neglect of Odisha in a bid to counter the rival BJP’s focus on lack of development in the area since the last 20 years.

Two letters, one by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday and another by Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday related to development of railway infrastructure in the western Odisha region has indicated the revised political strategy by BJD.

In his letter to the prime minister, the chief minister is reported to have demanded expansion of the jurisdiction of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) to cover all parts of Odisha under one zone with establishment of a new division at Rourkela. The new division should have jurisdiction over Jharsuguda-Barsuan-Kiriburu, Rourkela-Nuagaon and Jharsguda-Himgiri sections.

All three sections are now under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railway (SER). The second letter by Sahu deals more specifically with Padampur, where she rakes up the shelved railway line proposal between Bargarh and Nuapada via Padampur and demanded that the decision should be reconsidered.

In her letter, the Odisha minister referred to the announcement made by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at a public meeting on December 15, 2018 that a new railway line from Bargarh station to Nuapada Road station via Padampur has been sanctioned by the Centre.

She said since 2018, the chief minister and the state government have been requesting the Ministry of Railways to sanction the important railway line which has a Rate of Return (RoR) of 17.31 per cent as per a study undertaken by ECoR. However, the Ministry of Railways in 2019 communicated that the proposed new line has been shelved as it is not financially viable, she added.  

Following the request of the Railway Board on October 10, 2019, the chief minister approved free land for the entire project (Private, Government and Forest Land) and also pledged Rs 300 crore towards construction work.

Considering the immense benefit that the line offers, Sahu requested Vaishnaw to reconsider the decision and ask ECoR to begin the land acquisition process and start construction work expeditiously. 

The BJD also raised the issue at a media conference here alleging that in the last five years, the Centre has not sanctioned even a single new line for Odisha which is solely Centre funded. Rajya Sabha MP Sasmit Patra demanded immediate sanctioning of the Bargarh-Nuapada rail line through Padampur.

India Matters


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