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Odisha Latest News – Letter to Railway Minister: Establish Railway University in Odisha-Chhattisgarh border #Odisha #News #Budget

Dear honorable railway minister Mr. Gowda,

InterimRailwayBudget2014-15-Railway University in Odisha1) In 1962-63 late MP Sri Pratap Keshari Deo had pointed out in the parliament that Mr. Parkers had done a railway line survey from Kesinga to Nabarangpur to join Kothavalasa-Kirandul (KK) line, because Koraput-Kothavalasa and Koraput-Rayagada are e-special category railway routes having many tunnels and high-level bridges, the speed is limited (often less than 50 kmph) and number of wagon can’t exceed 30 during mineral transportations in these two routes. The idea is Amabguda-Lanjigarh road railway line will make mineral transportation from Kirandul to Visakhapatnam faster and easier.  Realizing this in 1991, Laniigarh road-Junagarh line was approved to connect with KK line at Ambaguda via Nabarangpur. 56 km of Lanjigarh road-Junagarh line of this route took 25 years to get completed, however, surveyed Junagarh-Ambaguda portion of this route has not yet been approved which will bring railway connection to tribal dominated Nabarangur district. KK line is one of the most profit-making routes of Indian railway. Immediate action is needed for approval and completion of rest of Junagarh-Ambaguda line without any delay.

2) Railway often argues about return of investment when demand to establish new rail lines come in these backward pockets like Khordha road-Balangir, Kantabanji-Jeypore, Raipur-Debhog-Odisha (Junagarh) etc. but the same railway invest more on north eastern frontier and metro railway for social development when both metro railways and north eastern frontier railways are among the worst performing railway zones in India. MP, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have railway track less than national average per every 1000 sqkm. Railway sanctioned new lines in these states only for its commercial interest like port and mineral connectivity but social connectivity in tribal and backward pockets of these states are continuously ignored. Railway lines in the backward pockets of these states should be given national project in the line of north eastern states.

3) Surprisingly, no allotment of fund was made for Wagon Maintenance Workshop at Kalahandi and Skill Development Center at Koraput in the profit making ECOR zone. At the same time Chhapra (comes under loss making North Eastern zone) and Kolkata (comes under also loss making Eastern zone) were the locations selected by railway for factories. Whether be it Raebareli (constituency of Sonia Gandhi), Chhapra (constituency of Lalu Yadav), West Bengal (home state of Mamata Banerjee), etc. powerful political leaders have often established railway factories based on their political agenda rather than actual source of raw materials like coal, iron, alumina, etc needed for such railway factories.

4) Locations in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, etc. that supply coal, iron, steel and aluminum for railway infrastructure and manufacturing unit are never considered for railway coach factory. For example, Narla road (comes under profit making ECOR zone) in KBK districts is located at the junction of three public sector steel plants in Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Rourkela (Odisha) and Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). It is also close to MCL coal blocks in Angul and Jharsuguda (Odisha). NALCO, BALCO, HAL and Vedanta Alumina are all located very close to it. Such location was never considered for factory. I ruge railway university could be established in such a location.

60,000 crore investment in bullet train is appreciable, but similar amount should also be allocated to these zones that bring profit to Indian railway. Otherwise present railway budget widens the gap between backward clusters like KBK and rich cities like Bangaluru/Delhi/ Ahemadabad/ Mumbai.

Honorable prime minister has promised to the nation to approach from bottom to top rather than continuing practice the same top-to-bottom approach and I sincerely hope railway will also adhere to bottom-to-top approach by not repeating the experience of past 65 years to give justice to backward pockets of Odisha, Chattisgarh and MP.

 

With best regards

Digambara Patra

 

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