BHUBANESHWAR: Centre has allocated Rs 10,536 crore in the interim budget for the development of railway sector in Odisha. It is the highest allocation for the state so far. This time, the state has got Rs 524 crore more compared to last year’s allocation of Rs 10,012 crore.
In 2022-23, state had received Rs 9,734 crore for the railway sector. Official statement of the Railways stated that average outlay for Odisha was Rs 838 crore from 2009 to 2014.
“If we see the outlay of the last three years for Odisha, it is an average of Rs 10,000 crore per year,” said railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw while addressing media persons here on Thursday through videoconferencing from Delhi.
He said the railways was completing on an average 53.4 km per annum between 2009-2014, but now it has completed 473 km during the last financial year. “We are working tirelessly with a commitment. We have sanctioned several newlines and expedited works of old projects too,” he added.
He said Vande Metro train services will be started in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Puri. Later the Railways can run this service in Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela route, Talcher-Angul section, Balasore-Bhadrak-Bhubaneswar section and other major sections, he added.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech said three major economic railway corridor programmes will be implemented in the country. First, energy, mineral and cement corridors, second: port connectivity corridors and the third: high traffic density corridors.
Odisha may become a part of these corridors, said the official sources. Under Amrit Quadrilateral corridors or high traffic density corridors, more railway lines will be developed. Double lines will be four lines and four lines will be converted into six lines for smooth, easy and fast movement of both passenger and freight trains, said the railway sources.
Under the Centre’s Janjatiya Gaurav Corridor plan to provide rail connectivity to tribal areas, Vaishnaw said, the Railways has sanctioned newline projects from Junagarh in Odisha to Bhadrachalam in Telangana (411km). It has Junagarh-Nabarangpur new line (118km), Nabarangpur-Jeypore (38 km), Jeypore-Malkangiri (130km) and Malkangiri-Bhadrachalam new line (125km). “Process is underway for land acquisition for these newline projects,” he added.
For safety of train movements, the railway minister said, they have installed Kavach (train protection system) on tracks. “By December 1 last year, we had installed this system on tracks of 827 km. The installation work is underway on a war-footing,” he added.
He said 58 stations in Odisha will be redeveloped. There are 42 ‘One Station One Product’ stalls opened for local people to sell locally famous handicrafts, art works and handloom products at stations in the state.
East Coast Railway zone received an allocation of more than Rs 11,000 crore, said the official sources.