Railway allocation for key lines in Odisha marks a big drop

Image used for representational purpose
Image used for representational purpose(Photo | Express)

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha may have received the highest-ever allocation of Rs 10,536 crore for railways in the interim Union budget 2024-25 but outlay for key new lines, and ongoing and proposed projects has dropped significantly.

As per the pink book presented in the Parliament, allocation for the long-pending Khurda road-Balangir new line project is Rs 1,350 crore, down by Rs 249 crore from 2023-24. Sanctioned in 1994-95, only 153 km of the 301-km new rail line project has been completed so far. There has been no budgetary allocation for Sambalpur-Gopalpur via Phulbani, Puri-Konark rail link, Jajpur Keonjhar Road-Dhamra via Aradi, Buramara-Chakulia line, Keonjhar-Badampahar, Digha-Jaleswar, Junagarh-Nabarangpur and Malkangiri-Bhadrachalam proposed rail lines.

The 142-km Nawapara Road-Bargarh Road via Padampur line that had led to a political slugfest between BJP and BJD during Padampur bypoll in December 2022 also did not find any mention in the railway allocation. Sources said no or little allocation will further delay some of the proposed key new railway lines, which would have boosted the economy in the respective regions besides promoting tourism.

However, among major projects, the state has been allocated Rs 300 crore under the ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Corridor’ for development of railways in tribal-dominated regions of the state. This is a part of an umbrella work of new lines to be built at a cost of Rs 70,000 crore in the tribal regions of the country as announced in the 2023-24 budget. Apart from the allocation for Khurda road-Balangir new line, Rs 500 crore has been allocated for 154-km Talcher-Bimlagarh railway line, Rs 235 crore for 38-km Jeypore-Nabarangpur line and Rs 223 crore for 130-km Jeypore-Malkangiri line.

The budgetary allocation for important ongoing doubling and tripling projects has also gone up. The highest Rs 950 crore has been allocated for 264-km Vizianagaram to Sambalpur third line, Rs 450 crore for Budhapank-Salegaon (3rd and 4th line), Rs 223 crore for Bhadrak-Nergundi third line, Rs 160 crore for Jharapada-Budapank third line and Rs 100 crore for Banspani-Daitari-Tomka-Jakhapura line.

Budgetary provisions have also been made for other projects, including an outlay of Rs 25 crore for freight train maintenance facility at Maneswar and Rs 10 crore each for setting up of electric loco periodic overhaul facility at Kalahandi and upgradation of freight wagon maintenance facility and disaster management rolling stock maintenance facility at Mancheswar.

East Coast Railway (ECoR) said Rs 11.76 crore has been allocated for ongoing surveys for 76 new projects, including 160-km Barkot-Jharsuguda, 96-km Jajpur Keonjhar Road and Dhamra, 118-km Junagarh-Nabarangpur, Puri-Konark, Bhubaneswar airport-Lingaraj Temple Road and 282-km Talcher-Ganjam-Gopalpur new line.

Major allocation

Khurda Road-Balangir - Rs 1,350 cr

Talcher-Bimlagarh - Rs 500 cr

Janjatiya Gaurav Corridor - Rs 300 cr

Jeypore-Nabarangpur - Rs 235

Jeypore-Malkangiri - Rs 223 cr

Vizianagaram-Sambalpur

3rd line - Rs 950 cr

Budhapank-Salegaon

(3rd and 4th line) - Rs 450 cr

Bhadrak-Nergundi third line - Rs 223 cr

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