Pointing at the apathetic attitude of the Rail Ministry in
spite of huge revenue collection from Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said
that 'the railway route length and all rail density in the state is much below
the national average as also substantially lower than that in neighbouring
States. In contrast, the gross earnings from various stations in the State of
Odisha is estimated to be in excess of 14000 Crore during the year 2012-2013.'
Chief Minister has requested the Prime Minister of India, in his letter, to ensure
allocation of sizeable part of the revenues generated from Odisha within the
State to strengthen and expand rail network.
Alleging that the union ministry has bypassed Odisha
while implementing ambitious projects like the dedicated freight
corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways
and high speed train projects, Naveen demands that the eastern dedicated
freight corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni should be extended to
Vishakhapatnam so as to ensure seamless movement of freight between the
ports and the vast northern and central hinterlands of the country.
In order to strengthen his argument for extension of
eastern freight corridor, CM has mentioned that 'the volume of
investments in Odisha in diverse sectors at different stages is in
excess of Rs.8,85,000 Cr. and Odisha government has taken steps to set
up ports on the State’s coastline to facilitate both international and
coastal maritime trade.' Stating that the growth in rail borne traffic
is expected to be in excess of 330 MMTPA in the next five years,' CM has
brought to the notice of the PM the urgent need of Odisha for time bound
infrastructure up-gradation arrangement plan by the Union Rail Ministry
between that of the ports for maximising economic gains.
On poor or no rail network in the backward regions of
Odisha, the Chief Minister says that lack of infrastructure has been one
of the major reasons of impeding socio-economic growth of this region.
Mentioning that expansion of rail network in these areas would help
minimising the impact of left wing extremism, Naveen adds in his letter
to the Prime Minister that ‘delivering rail services in the naxal
affected regions is one of the best means to channelise development
therein and provide counter active force.’
Citing that the State needs to look for new virgin
areas for development and industrialisation as many of the present
industrial clusters have attained a stage of saturation in terms of
availability of land, water and, also, due to environmental concerns,
Naveen presses on speedy execution of projects such as, Bhadrachalam
Road – Talcher Rail Link via Malkangiri, Jeypore, Lanjigarh; Sambalpur –
Berhampur new Rail Link via Phulbani; Rayagada – Gopalpur Rail Link via
Bhismagiri. Requesting the PM to advise the Ministry of Railways to
execute these projects on priority basis, Naveen demanded that these
projects should be treated as national projects.
Referring to the constant demand for improvement in
passenger amenities at major railway stations as well as trains, Chief
Minister has sought Prime Minister’s intervention for prompt execution
of world class stations at Bhubaneswar and the pilgrimage city of Puri.
While bringing to notice the need of effective urban transport system in
the envisioned Bhubaneswar-Cuttack mega urban complex, the Chief
Minister has requested for provision of multi-functional complexes and
upgraded passenger amenities at the stations in district headquarters
and important tourist destinations.
The State government has submitted a detail proposal mentioning
requirements of Odisha to the Prime Minister for consideration and necessary
direction to the Railway Ministry of India.