Bhubaneswar, April 5: Cutting across party lines, members in the Assembly today demanded that the Orissa government should take expeditious steps to provide land for establishment of a rail wagon factory in Kalahandi district.
Sensing the mood of the House, Speaker Pradip Amat directed the state government to take necessary steps.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said railway minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that a rail wagon factory would be set up at Bhubaneswar or Kalahandi subject to availability of land. The people of backward Kalahandi had been demanding the rail wagon factory be established in the district.
Unfortunately, the BJD government, which has been shedding crocodile tears for the backward Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi (KBK) region, has reportedly informed the Union railway ministry that land was not available in Kalahandi for the proposed rail project, said Singh, who belongs to the region.
He wanted to know as to whether or not chief minister Naveen Patnaik wanted the rail wagon factory to be located in his home district Ganjam.
Stating that the people of Kalahandi have launched agitation in all the 13 blocks of the district demanding the wagon factory in the region, Singh said they would not forgive Naveen if his government did not provide land for the rail project.
Congress MLA from Junagarh Gobardhan Das said the BJD government was showing step-motherly attitude to Kalahandi district.
Its unfortunate that the state government is expressing inability to provide 50 to 60 acres required for the rail wagon factory, while it has allotted hundreds of acres to Vedanta for their alumina refinery, he said.
His party colleague Dusmant Naik from neighbouring Bhawanipatna constituency claimed that more than 100 acres were available at Narla Road, Rupra Road and Kesinga. The state government is refusing to provide land out of political consideration since Kalahandi district has been dominated by Congress, he said.
Earlier, Das and Naik were seen standing on their feet all through the Question Hour holding a poster demanding rail wagon factory in Kalahandi. They also staged a dharna outside the Assembly yesterday.
NCP legislature party leader Amar Satpathy demanded a statement from the revenue minister on land availability for the project, in which the states interest was involved.
Senior BJP legislator and former minister Jaynarayan Mishra urged the speaker to direct the state government to provide land for the factory in Kalahandi.
Ruling BJD legislator Pradeep Maharathy said the state government should provide land for rail wagon factory in Kalahandi and Puri-Konark rail line. Amat directed the government to take note of it.