Posts filed under ‘Khurdha-Balangir rail line’
BHUBANESWAR: Expressing displeasure over the “tardy” progress of the Rajsunakhala-Bolagada section of the Khordha-Bolangir rail line, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asked transport department to ensure that Nayagarh town is connected by March next year.
At a high level meeting here, Patnaik expressed his displeasure while reviewing the progress of Rajsunakhala- Bolagarh section which had earlier been targeted to be completed by June, 2016.
Stating that the rail link was of great importance to the state, Patnaik directed the officials to complete land acquisition, obtain clearance from the Forest and Environment Ministry at the earliest to expedite the project.
He also directed the officials to ensure rail connectivity to Sonepur by expediting the work being undertaken from Balangir side.
The Chief Minister asserted that the state government was providing all cooperation for the rail projects and expects its timely completion.
He lauded the land acquisition process in Nayagarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Subarnpur districts and directed the revenue department officials to keep constant track in that regard.
The state government has promised 50 per cent of the expenditures to be incurred for the Khurda-Bolangir project besides providing land free of cost for the 289 km rail link.
So far land for 109 km has been transferred to the railways for the project.
Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi said, “As per the directive of the Chief Minister, the work started from Bolangir side last December.
The target is to complete the 16-km railway line work by 2018.”
The survey work for the Khurda-Bolangir rail project was done way back in 1945. It had a budget of Rs 1,100 crore.
The project is expected to benefit five districts Nayagarh, Khurda, Boudh, Sonepur and Bolangir
BHUBANESWAR: The much-awaited Khurda Road-Balangir railway project is expected to get a fresh lease of life as the state government will be signing an MoU with the railway ministry on July 20 for the completion of the project in a time bound manner, official sources said.
The 289-km rail project, to course through some of the backward districts of the state, was sanctioned by the Centre in 1994-95.
The inordinate delay is mainly ascribed to problems over land acquisition. So far, work has been completed only on 32 km (Khurda Road to Begunia) which is scheduled to be inaugurated by Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu in the presence of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
The Union minister will also inaugurate station buildings of Begunia and Khurda Town by remote control and flag off the passenger train, railway sources said.
For speedy completion of the project, the state government has offered to provide free land on the Daspalla-Bolangir stretch (112-289 km) for this crucial rail link and agreed to bear 50% of the project cost.
This rail project was sanctioned in 1994-95 at an estimated cost of Rs 1,000 crore. Due to delay, the cost of the project has now gone up to Rs 2,000 crore.
“The cost overrun has been due to a steep rise in input costs like steel and cement.
The Railway Budget for 2015-16 had allocated Rs 195 crore for this project,” said an officer.
The state government has already handed over private land of 1,095.91 acre to the railway authorities. The whole project needs 5,021 acre of land, sources said. “We hope the MoU will help speed up the project,” said transport and commerce minister Ramesh Majhi.
According to sources, the state government is going to propose to the railway ministry to be partners in a number of other railway projects which has been hanging fire for the past several decades.
Other pending railway projects include the Haridaspur-Paradeep special purpose vehicle (SPV) project (82 km, sanctioned in 1995-96), Anugul-Duburi-Sukinda SPV Project (90 km, sanctioned in 1997-98), Talcher-Bimlagarh (154 km, sanctioned in 2004-05) and Jaleswar-Digha (40 km, sanctioned in 2010-11).
To ensure rail connectivity in tribe-dominated districts, the state government has announced it would bear 50% of the construction cost along with free land for the Jeypore-Nabarangpur line and 25% of the construction cost for the Jeypore-Malkangiri line for creating railway infrastructure.
BOUDH: The successful trial run of trains in a stretch of 32-km on Khurda Road-Balangir line on August 31 last year had raised hopes of completion of the project soon. But, the project continues to hang fire with land acquisition posing as a major hurdle.
The railway line which will pass through Khurda, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir districts would require construction of 11 tunnels measuring 6.3 km, around 435 bridges including a 660-metre bridge over river Tel besides culverts and other constructions.
Though the State Government had assured the Centre of providing the land free of cost, the acquisition process for the 289-km rail line has hit a road block.
As yet, only land for laying train tracks on 22 kms has been acquired in Balangir district while not a single inch of land has been acquired in Boudh district which has a lion’s share of 122 kms. However, in neighbouring Nayagarh district, land has been acquired from Raj Sunakhala to Nayagarh.
After connecting Khurda Road with Begunia in the first phase, work on the 46-km stretch to Raj Sunakhala was to be completed by March 31 this year and the 66-km stretch till Nayagarh has 2015-16 financial year deadline. But meeting the deadline now seems to be remote considering the slow pace of work.
As per official reports, the budget of the project which was estimated at `4.98 crore after the initial survey has shot up to a staggering `2,000 crore as it witnessed low budgetary provisions in Central Budgets and issues of land acquisition.
The rail link was first surveyed in 1945 by the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) administration which found the route important as it connected most backward undivided districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Koraput and Phulbani with Bhubaneswar. Smaller towns such as Daspalla, Banigochha, Manipur and Boudh were also part of the line.
Following is a report from the Pioneer:
Rly Min agrees to meet Odisha MPs to discuss issues
BJD MPs earlier this week met Railway Minister V Sadananda Gowda in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum to him seeking many new railway projects for Odisha and national status to the ongoing Khordha-Balangir line project.
The State Government has promised to provide free land, including private land for the Daspalla-Balangir railway stretch, and to share 50 per cent of expenditure for the project, the memorandum said.
The other demands included extension of dedicated freight corridor from Dankuni to Brahmapur, East-West and East-South rail corridor in Angul-Talcher belt’s Basundhara Area, Nayagarh-Bansapani rail corridor, construction of Bhadrachalam Road-Talcher rail link via Malkangiri-Jeypore and Lanjigarh, Sambalpur –Brahmapur link via Bhishmgiri, speed execution of the Talcher-Bimalgarh line, commencement of the Bargarh Nuapada via Padampur and elevation of Bhubaneswar and Puri stations to the world class level.
The MPs also demanded sanctions for the Talcher-Sambalpur-Jharsguda broad gauge link, Sambalpur-Titiligarh line and Koraput-Rayagada line. Besides, it also demanded that a wagon factory each at Ganjam, Kalahandi and at the Railway industry at Kantabanji.
Notably, the Centre, in its Railway Budget, has made a provision of `1,420 crore for various projects against Odisha’s demand of `3,160 crore.
“We, all BJD Members, met Railway Minister V Sadananda Gowda on July 15 and submitted a detailed list of Odisha’s demands, including national status to the Khordha-Balangir Railway line national status,” BJD MP Kalikesh Narayn Singh Deo told The Pioneer.
Singh Deo also informed that the Railway Minister announced in Parliament that he would convene a meeting with Odisha MPs soon.
Odisha MP from Bolangir Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo has urged the Centre for allocation of at least Rs 400 crore for the construction of Khordha-Balangir rail line.
Singhdeo has also demanded the opening of a railway wagon factory at Kantabanji for economic development in the locality and employment opportunities for the local youths.
He has also demanded a direct train from Bolangir to Delhi, extension of the Ispat Express train to Kantabanji and a direct express train to Allahabad from Bolangir, installation of coach indicators and upgradation of Bolangir railway station.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave his approval to such a proposal, the sources said, adding Odisha was the first state in the country to provide free of cost land for any railway project and offer to bear 50 percent of cost of the construction of the railway line.
The state government’s action in this regard came due to tardy progress of the 289 km Khurda-Bolangir railway line.
Though the project was sanctioned way back in 1994-95, only 52 km rail line construction work was expected to be completed by end of 2013-14 fiscal, they said.
“As the Khurda-Bolangir railway project is considered significant for the socio-economic development of the people of at least four districts (Bolangir, Boudh, Nayagarh and Sonepur), the state government was ready to contribute to the project,” the sources said.
Though Khurda-Bolangir project is considered as the biggest railway project in the state, only Rs 40 crore was allotted for the project in the last railway budget.
The first survey work for the line was conducted in 1945 by the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) as it was felt that there should be railway link for the tribal dominated districts of Bolangir, Kalahandi, Koraput and Phulbani.
However, after Independence the project remained in cold storage till the Planning Commission approved it in 1993 and it received the presidential nod in 1994. Its cost was then estimated at Rs 383 crore. The project was expected to be completed within five years but funds crunch became a hindrance.
A number of delegations had met subsequent Railway Ministers, without any progress. Therefore, the state government decided to take half of the responsibility for completion of the project.