Bhubaneswar, Feb. 13: Orissas verdict on the 2009-10 interim railway budget was best described in a single word — disappointed.
I am disappointed. Orissa has been neglected, said chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Last month, he had sent a Rs 1,520-crore proposal package to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the development of railway infrastructure in the state keeping in mind its rapid industrialisation.
Only one express train was introduced and frequency of two were increased. No new survey for projects were passed, no gauge conversion, no doubling of railway lines and no route extension were announced, he said. Out of the 43 new trains announced today, only one, the Koraput-Rourkela Express via Rayagada, was introduced.
The state had requested for the introduction of 14 new trains, said transport minister Jaynarayan Mishra. The government had demanded the extension of four existing routes — again they were disappointed. Of the 14 trains whose frequency were increased, two belong to Orissa, when it had asked for five.
In the interim budget, 25 surveys have been proposed comprising 14 new rail lines, three gauge conversions and eight doubling of railway tracks. But, none for Orissa.
The government had requested for five surveys for new rail links.
The chief ministers proposed package included proposals for expansion of railway network in the backward areas such as the KBK region, gauge conversion and doubling of railway lines, expeditious completion of ongoing projects, introduction of new trains, increase in frequency of trains, rail connectivity to upcoming ports and passenger amenities.
The chief minister noted that Bhubaneswar-Rameswaram Express, announced in 2007-08 budget, was yet to be introduced.
Similarly, none of the six routes identified for the pre-feasibility study for bullet trains, touches Orissa, he observed.
Bhubaneswar-Howrah route should have been considered for the introduction of a bullet train, he said.