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Odisha to fight for railway funds

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 24: A committee of Odisha Assembly today decided to demand an allocation of Rs 3,050 crore in the coming railway budget, notwithstanding the fact that the railway ministry had slashed allocation for the state to the tune of Rs 280 crore in 2012-13.

In 2012-13, Odisha had got Rs 723 crore as against the state’s demand for Rs 2,345 crore. Later, the ministry had reduced the budget by Rs 280 crore in three phases, triggering protest from the state government and the ruling BJD.

Odisha Assembly’s Committee on Railways, headed by the Speaker, today met to finalise the proposals.

“We have sought appointments with the Prime Minister and the railway minister in the first week of February to put forward our demands,” said Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat.

This time, the committee will demand Rs 3,050 crore budgetary allocation for railway projects, said Subrat Tarai, state’s commerce and transport minister .

Odisha will seek an allocation of Rs 1,440 crore for construction of nine railway lines. These projects are Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road, Khurda Road-Balangir, Haridaspur-Paradip, Talcher-Bimlagarh, Lanjigarh-Junagarh, Digha-Jaleswar, Keonjhar-Badampahar, Gunupur-Theruvali-Raygada and Vasundhara-Rampia coal corridor.

Besides, an allocation of Rs 890 crore will be demanded for doubling of 14 rail lines and another Rs 50 crore for gauge conversion of Rupsa-Bangiriposhi narrow gauge.

Odisha will also ask for Rs 210 crore for electrification of four rail lines, Rs 100 crore for development of traffic facilities (development of multi-modal logistic park at Kalinga Nagar, Angul, Jharsuguda, Rourkela and Choudwar and development of goods sheds at 18 places) and Rs 275 crore for passenger amenities which include development of model station at Bhubaneswar and Puri ( Rs 100 crore).

The chief minister had written to the Prime Minister stating the gross earnings of the railways from Odisha was estimated to be over Rs 14,000 crore during 2012-13 and had urged him to ensure allocation of a sizeable part of the revenue generated from Odisha in the state to strengthen the railways.