Bhubaneswar, Feb 25 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday thanked Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for allocating Rs.4,682 crore to Odisha in the railway budget 2016-17, which is hike of 30 percent from last year’s outlay.
“Total outlay for Odisha for the year 2016-17 is Rs.4,682 crore, against a demand of Rs.5,000 crore, which is an increase by 30 percent from last year budget outlay. We appreciate the enhancement in outlay and request railway minister not to revise this downwards like last year,” said Patnaik in a statement, noting that last year’s actual allotment was 35 percent less than the original allotment for Odisha.
Noting his government has been offering to bear construction cost as well as to give land free of cost to important projects, he thanked the ministry for accepting the offer of partnership and sanctioning the two important long-sought projects of Jeypore-Malkanagiri and Jeypore-Nabarangpur.
“State’s demand for sanctioning the other economically viable lines has been accepted by railway minister and we are thankful for the sanction of Junagarh-Ambaguda via Nabarangpur, Bereahmpur-Sambalpur and Banspani-Badbil lines with partnership of state,” said Patnaik.
He also expressed his gratitude for accepting the demand for extending the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) from Kharagpur to Vijayawada through coastal Odisha.
Patnaik also hoped that the railway ministry would consider the demand of the government for a Rail based Mass Rapid Transit System for greater Bhubaneswar area, considering the fact that Bhubaneswar has now emerged as the number one Smart City in the country.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from the state thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the railway minister for an allocation that would help in developing rail infrastructure in the state, noting it proves that the central government is giving importance to the eastern parts of the country.
However, Odisha Congress president Prasad Harichandan said the budget has nothing new for Odisha.
“The railway budget is disappointing. There is no provision of new trains and new projects for the state,” said the PCC president.