The Union government has made the highest ever allocation of Rs 9,734 crore in the Union Budget 2022-23 for the development of railways in Odisha, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday.
Speaking to media representatives from Odisha in New Delhi, Vaishnaw said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allocated a historic highest amount of Rs 9,734 crore for development of railways in Odisha. This budgetary allocation is 10 times more than the annual allocation made during the Congress government.”
He said the Central allocation for the development railway sector in Odisha has been substantially increased during the regime of Modi government in comparison to Congress or UPA government.
Average annual budget allocation for railways in the State of Odisha was Rs 838 crore per year during 2009-14. This allocation has been enhanced to Rs 4,126 crore per year during 2014-19, he said.
The average annual budget allocation has been increased by 392 per cent during 2014-19 in comparison to the average annual allocation made during the Congress period (2009-14), Vaishnaw said.
Giving details of fund allocated during past few years to Odisha, the Railways Minister said the Centre has provided Rs 4,568 crore to Odisha in the financial year 2019-20, which was 445 per cent more than the average annual budget allocation of 2009-14.
Further, he said the funding was enhanced to Rs 5,296 crore in the financial year 2020-21, which is again 532 per cent more than the average annual budget allocation of 2009-14.
For the financial year 2021-22, a budget outlay of Rs 6,471 crore (original budget outlay (BE) Rs 5,921 crore and additional allotment Rs 550 crore) has been provided for railway projects in Odisha, which is 660 per cent more than the average annual budget outlay of 2009-14 (Rs 838 crore per year), the minister said.
Commenting on the proposed wagon factory in Kalahandi district of Odisha, Vaishnaw said 50 per cent of land required for the project so far. The work to set up the factory will begin once the State government provides the remaining land.
As the Centre has announced to run 400 new Vande Bharat trains in this budget, the minister informed that such train service will also run in Odisha.
Asked about slow progress in execution of some big railway projects in the state, the minister replied that the major hurdle for the projects in land acquisition and forest clearances. He urged the Odisha government to expedite the land acquisition process. He, however, made it clear that there is no dearth of funds for development railway projects in the State.