Residents believe the defeat of BJP’s Banka candidate, Putul Kumari, against RJD’s Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav would cast a cloud over Sultanganj-Deoghar railway project.
According to sources, the land acquisition process from Sultanganj to Amarpur in Banka has not been completed, while more than 80 per cent work has been completed between Deoghar and Banka stations falling on the proposed route.
Sources said in 2009, the railways had provided Rs 34 crore as compensation to the people who had given their land for the project. However, owing to the indifferent attitude of the state government, the land acquisition process in Sultanganj has not been completed yet, alleged a senior railway official.
He said: “The railway has completed other works related to this project like extension of the Sultanganj railway station, a new railway colony and two platforms among the four proposed. Owing to the delay in land acquisition, the work on two proposed platforms has not started in Sultanganj.”
He, however, said the Railway Board on October 13, 2013, informed the office of railway chief engineer (public works department), Bhagalpur, that owing to financial crunch, the ministry decided to temporarily suspend the Sultanganj-Deoghar plan. “The thumping win of the BJP in this elections has raised hopes but the defeat of Putul has frustrated us. Had she won, she would have exerted pressure and the Narendra Modi government would have accepted her demand of completing the project. But her defeat has spoilt any such chance,” said Uday Shanker Choudhary, a social worker at Sultanganj.
“We don’t know how much the new MP, Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, would raise his voice and create pressure on the new government for completing this project,” said Dhrub Thakur, a Banka resident.
Former Union minister of state for railways Late Digvijay Singh had laid the foundation stone of the project in 2003 in Deoghar and the cost of the project was Rs 283 crore then. Then, Deoghar was included within Banka Lok Sabha seat but after delimitation, Deoghar was separated from Banka, while the Sultanganj Assembly seat in Bhagalpur was attached to the Banka Lok Sabha.