Bhubaneswar: Ahead of Padampur bypoll in Bargarh district, Odisha Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu urged the Centre for sanction of new railway line between Bargarh and Nuapada via Padampur.
In a letter to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Sahu wrote, “This railway project can offer an important communication link to the people of two districts of Odisha and act as a potential catalyst for rapid economic development of Western Odisha. With this new line, the Western Odisha region will get a shorter and quicker connectivity with the Coastal Odisha through Khurda-Balangir line.”
Earlier, the new railway line from Bargarh Station to Nuapada Road Station was proposed by the Centre on December 15, 2018
Even Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a public meeting had announced that the Central Government has sanctioned the project and same was also highlighted by him on his social media account, she said.
Since 2018, the state government has been requesting the Minister of Railways to sanction the railway line between Bargarh and Nuapada via Padampur. The project has a Rate of Return (RoR) of 17.3% as per study undertaken by the East Coast Railway and communicated to Ministry of Railways vide letter dated January 11, 2019, the minister wrote.
However, the Ministry of Railways in 2019 stated that the proposed new line has been shelved citing it ‘financially viable’ despite the high RR, which is much beyond the requirement for approving a new line, Sahu said while attaching copy of the letter for the Union Minister’s reference.
“Further, vide letter dated October 10, 2019, copy of which is attached herewith, Railway Board asked the state government to contribute free land and RR cost for land acquisition for considering the project. And on this request, the CM approved not only free land for the entire project but also pledged Rs 300 crore towards construction of the project, so that it becomes even more lucrative for Indian Railways to sanction the project. The same has been communicated to the Ministry of Railways,” Odisha minister wrote.
Despite Odisha Govt coming forward to offer with all cooperation, the important project is still waiting to advance from paper work and surveys through other agencies. It may be noted that Ministry of Railways has suggested that state led JV, ORIDL, to undertake the surveys. Given the immense benefit the new line will offer, Indian Railways need to come forward, allocate funds and start the work immediately, she further added.
Through the letter Sahu requested Vaishnaw to reconsider his ministry’s decision and sanction the new railway line in the interest of people of Odisha. She urged the Union Minister to entrust East Coast Railway to begin the land acquisition process and start construction work for the project.