Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Nov 4:
In a significant development that will fulfill a longstanding demand of the state, the Odisha government today inked memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Railways to form an Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of railway projects in Odisha to connect seven districts which are hitherto not connected by railways.
The MoU was signed to bring rail connectivity to the seven districts of Boudh, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Malkangiri, Deogarh, Nabarangpur and Nayagarh.
According to the MoU state government will have 51% stake in the project while the Ministry of Railways will have 49% stake in the projects.
“Projects will be taken up in the seven districts of Kandhmal, Boudh,Nayagarh, Deogarh, Nabarangpur, Kendrapara and Malkangiri which do not have rail connectivity. In addition to this projects which are be demanded by the public for a long time will be also taken up,” said Ramesh Majhi, Minister of Transport.
Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Transport Minister of Odisha Ramesh Majhi were present during the inking of the MoU.
“Odisha is a state which has huge mineral deposits and huge tourism potential. In the absence of railway network it is not being properly exploited. For this we signed the agreement today. I had on several occasions held discussions with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ji on this account. Today’s agreement is the result of that,” said Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu to reporters after the MoU inking.
Prabhu disclosed that Odisha got special attention since formation of the new government at Centre.
“We enhanced the outlay for development of network in Odisha, in 2014-15 (Rs 1073 cr.) by about 40 % as compared to 2013-14(Rs 754 cr.). This year, it has been further enhanced to 3 times (Rs 3310 cr. including EBRIF of Rs 2056 cr.) In 2014-15, 33 Km new line and 32 Km doubling was commissioned. In the current year, Railways has set targets for commissioning of about 150 Km of network expansion projects, including 22 km new line and 128 Km doubling,” said Prabhu.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram described the occasion as historic and thanked both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railways Minister Prabhu for it. He said with this Odisha will cross the national average in railways connectivity.
The MoU was signed between state Transport secretary Sanjay Rastogi and senior official of the Indian Railways V P Dudeja.
Besides, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Union Minister of state for Railways Manoj Sinha and all MPs from the state were present during the signing of the MoU.