Balangir, Aug. 10: Bhawanipatna’s long wait for a railway link with Bhubaneswar will finally come to an end when Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das flags off a train to connect the two cities tomorrow.
The railway link between the two cities becomes possible with the laying of a 30-km track between Bhawanipatna and Lanjigarh. Trains between Bhubaneswar and Bhawanipatna in western Odisha will now run using the Rayagada and Lanjigarh route.
On Saturday, seven bogies of the Hirakhand Express, which runs between Bhubaneswar and Rayagada, will travel up to Bhawanipatna.
The launch of the railway service has brought cheer to Bhawanipatna residents, but for those in Junagarh the wait is yet to be over. It will require another 26km of track laying for trains to run till there.
The 56-km Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh rail line project was initiated in 1991 when local MP Das was the minister of state for railways.
In 1993, the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao had laid the foundation stone in the presence of the then minister of state for railways K.C. Lenka and chief minister Biju Patnaik.
Elated at the launch of the service, Sanjeev Pradhan, a local resident of Bhawanipatna, said: “Though we had to wait for two decades, we are happy that it’s finally complete. This is an important project, not only for Bhawanipatna, but also for the entire Kalahandi district. The link will minimise the distance between Bhawanipatna and Bhubaneswar. Authorities have already decided to start a link train for the Hirakhand Express.”
Congress MLA from Bhawanipatna Dushmanta Naik said: “The people of Kalahandi were eagerly awaiting this rail link. Though it came a bit late, it is good that Bhawanipatna is now connected by rail. The work on the Bhawanipatna-Junagarh stretch will be over soon.”