Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure allocation of a sizable amount of revenue generated from Odisha in the next rail budget for expanding rail infrastructure in the state.
In a letter to Modi on November 25, Patnaik said railway route length and rail density in the state is well below national average but the gross earnings from the state is over Rs.14,000 crore.
"The government of India has initiated many ambitious projects like dedicated freight corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways and high speed train projects which appeared to have completely bypassed Odisha although some of the country's largest investment in steel, aluminium and power sectors are coming up here," said the Chief Minister.
With the state government taking steps to create greenfield ports, he said the state government has been urging the Railway Ministry to put in place a time-bound infrastructure upgradation arrangement for the ports.
"A synchronised development plan between those of ports and related rail connectivity is a necessary for maximizing economic gains," he said.
Noting that a large part of Odisha, especially the backward region, has remained untouched by the railways, Patnaik said delivering rail services in the Maoist-affected regions was one of the best means to channelise development and provide counter-active force.
He urged the central government to complete the Khurdha-Bolangir railway line.
Odisha has committed to provide land in Daspalla-Bolangir stretch (112-289 km) free of cost and share 50 percent of construction cost for this segment.
The state government also consented to bear 25 percent of construction cost for Jeypore-Malkangiri project and provide all land free of cost and bear 50 percent of construction cost for Jeypore-Nabarangpur project.
The Railways may be urged to take up these projects on priority basis, Patnaik said. Besides, the state government submitted a host of proposals for new lines, gauge conservation, passenger amenities and introduction of new trains.