Kalahandias are shocked and disheartened as mention of Railway Wagon Factory and expansion of major railway projects and train connections have missed in the letters issued recently by the Odisha Chief Minister addressed to the Prime Minister and Union Minister Railways for development of railways in the state.
This is mirroring actual seriousness of State Government towards KBK region in railway development, rued leading NRO Digambara Patra.
Dr.Patra, pointed out that with the people of Kalahandi have been demanding for a Railway Wagon factory since years together, the Ministry of Railways had approved one such establishment in the Railway Budget- 2010-11.
However, due to internal squabbles in state politics, an attempt was made to shift it to somewhere else. Taking notice of this injustice former Minister Railways had promised for another railway wagon factory in Odisha, especially for Kalahandi.
Reminding the Chief Minister, another NRO, Madhusmita Panda said that in one of the parliament sessions in 2012, now the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who was then Minister Finance, and Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson UPA also took it to Minister Railways to establish the Wagon factory in Kalahandi and promised to Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das that such an establishment will be made soon in Kalahandi.
Respecting the public demand, Odisha Government had also sent a letter to Union Minister Railways saying arrangement of land in Kalahandi would be made for a Wagon factory in Kalahandi. However, no concrete move has been made yet by the Minister Railways to construct the factory in Kalahandi, even after the assurance given by the Minister Railways, Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi and others in the Parliament, said Ms.Panda.
Though the move is to make the issue political, the fact is that Wagon factory in Kalahandi/Bhubaneswar was approved in 2010-11 Railway Budget which is much before than 2012-13 Railway Budget when Sitapalli in Ganjam was mentioned based on State Government request to undermine interest of Kalahandi, alleged Dr.Patra.
He has urged to expedite the process to establish the railway Wagon factory in Kalahandi in priority basis as per earlier announcement.
Similarly, extension of Ispat express train (Howrah – Titilagarh) to Bhawanipatna and a new train between Bhawanipatna and Visakhapatnam are needed for KBK region.
Construction work of surveyed railway lines, such as Kantabanji-Jeypore-Malkangiri and Lanjigarh road-Talcher, should be initiated to link Bhadrachalam road-Talcher immediately and bring development in KBK-Kandhamal districts.
Survey for Rajim (Raipur)-Debhog-Dharamgarh-Junagarh as per 2012-13 railway budget should be speeded up, urged Dr.Patra and Ms.Panda.