Odisha: Angul-Sukinda new line ready for regular train ops

The new line connects the chromate rich Sukinda region to Talcher coal fields and serves as linkage to Banspani-Duburi rail line.
Trial run of a goods train on the newly constructed Angul-Sukinda line
Trial run of a goods train on the newly constructed Angul-Sukinda line

BHUBANESWAR:  More than 25 years after the sanction, the much awaited Angul-Sukinda new rail line is now ready for regular train operations. Official sources said the 94 km new rail line built at a cost of around Rs 2,800 crore will be commissioned by February 15 after the senior grade administrative officers’ committee submits its technical report.

Trial run of a goods train on the newly constructed Angul-Sukinda line that passes through Angul, Dhenkanal and Jajpur was successfully carried out on Monday. The new line connects the chromate rich Sukinda region to Talcher coal fields and serves as linkage to Banspani-Duburi rail line.

Managing director of Angul Sukinda Railway Limited (ASRL) Dilip Kumar Samantray said the rail line will be commissioned by mid February as the committee is expected to submit the technical report by February 10. Once commissioned, the new railway line will be beneficial for the steel and power sectors in the state, he said.

Sanctioned by the Railway Ministry in 1997, the project was stuck for nearly 15 years due to lack of funds. The Special Purpose Vehicle ASRL was formed in 2009 by the Ministry of Railways through Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) to execute the project in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. 

Unlike Khurda-Balangir and Talcher-Bimlagarh rail lines, where an annual budget grant is received from the Railway Ministry, the Angul-Sukinda project was not directly funded by the Railways. Unfortunately, no big company also came forward to invest in the rail line. 

The project took off after the Odisha government and Container Corporation of India came forward to contribute equity for the project. The ASRL also roped in eight nationalised banks with Canara Bank as lead bank to ensure `2,200 crore of debt available for the project.  

“The project gained momentum in 2017 after complete land acquisition and forest and environmental clearance. It also slowed down due to Covid-19 pandemic. The construction of the main railway line has been completed barring the link lines to a couple of steel plants,” Samantray said. The ministry is also keen on running passenger trains on the line.

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