Bhubaneswar: Stressing that Odisha failed to get its due in terms of investment in the railway sector in the past, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the Centre and the state government would form a new company for implementation of different projects.
A joint working group is also being constituted to resolve the issues like setting up of rail wagon repair factories both at Narla in Kalahandi and Sitalapalli of Ganjam district, Prabhu said.
Stressing that Odisha did not get its due investment in rail infrastracture for many years, Prabhu said the Railway Ministry along with the state government will create a new company to ensure timely implementation of projects here.
Coming to the proposed Joint Working Group, he said “The group will take a decision within one-and-half-month on how to utilise both the projects in Kalahandi and Ganjam and make them commercially viable and economically feasible.”
Prabhu was talking to reporters after meeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence. Prabhu’s comments came in the backdrop of the recent agitation over the Indian Railways’ reported decision to shift the proposed rail wagon repair factory from Narla in Kalahandi district to Vishakhapatanam.
While the Chief Minister had shot off a letter to the Railway Minister seeking clarification on the Ministry’s decision, opposition Congress organised a ‘Kalahandi bandh’ on the issue.
Prabhu explained the earlier projects were announced without looking into their feasibility and commercial viability. The UPA government in 2013 had announced a rail wagon repair factory at Narla in Kalahandi. However, Prabhu said the joint working group would sort out the problems.
He said the NDA government in its two rail budgets had made adequate allocation for rail infrastracture development in the state.
“This year, we have allocated Rs 6,000 crore. We plan to invest more in the state,” Prabhu said. Describing his meeting with Prabhu as “fruitful,” Chief Minister Patnaik said he urged the Railway Minister to consider Malkangiri-Nabarangpur railline.
“This apart, it has been decided to have video conferencing on rail projects on alternate months. We will sort out matters,” Patnaik said. Patnaik also thanked Prabhu and Railway Ministry for choosing Bhubaneswar as the second railway station in the country to get wi-fi facility.
“Germany and France will provide technical support for the services in Indian Railways,” said Prabhu who is on a two day visit to the state to attend the Rail Week. Earlier, soon after his arrival at the airport here, Prabhu said this is the first time that such a huge amount of investment has been proposed for Odisha in this year’s Railway budget.
He expressed the hope that Odisha would become one of the most developed states in 3-4 years and railway would play a major role in this direction.