The Vote-on-Account Railway Budget, which was presented in Parliament on Wednesday, announced two passengers and an Express train for Odisha.
However, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was quick to express his disappointment saying the State has been neglected by the Centre again.
The interim Railway Budget announced introduction of Gunupur-Visakhapatnam and Sambalpur-Bhawanipatna daily passengers which would meet the demands of commuters in their respective regions. The Gunupur-Visakhapatnam passenger will directly connect people of Gajapati with bordering as well as areas of Andhra Pradesh.
Similarly, the Sambalpur-Bhawanipatna passenger will also bring more connectivity in the western pocket.
The passenger trains apart, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge also announced Puri-Gandhidham and Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Express. These two trains will originate from ECoR territory. Similarly, Kamakhya-Chennai and Howrah-Yesvantpur weekly Express trains were also announced.
These two trains will pass through ECoR territory on a weekly basis.
Naveen, on his part, said the announcement was a big disappointment. “We had requested the Ministry of Railways to allocate `4,000 crore for various projects in the State, but in the Vote-On-Account Railway Budget, no specific provision on any project has been indicated,” the CM said.
The State had demanded 31 new trains. In view of the funds crunch, Naveen said Odisha Government had come forward to finance 50 per cent of the project cost and provide land for free for the balance work on Khurda-Balangir line. Similarly, it had committed 26 per cent share capital in two special purpose vehicle projects, including Haridaspur-Paradip and Angul-Sukinda lines, but no mention has been made about either of them, he added.
Naveen also raised the “step-motherly treatment” pitch saying the Centre has been silent on proposals for wagon factory in Ganjam and Kalahandi project as well as modern railway station plan, whereas the State contributes more than `14,000 crore revenue a year.
The people of Odisha will remember the continuous neglect and give a befitting response at the “earliest opportunity,” Naveen’s statement said.
However, since this is the interim budget, ECoR sources said the announcements do not reflect what is in store in the full Railway Budget, which will be presented in June. “Instead of spreading its allocation over a number of projects, the Railway Ministry has been requested to focus on major projects such as doubling of Delang-Puri and Khurda-Balangir line since these two are of immediate importance,” sources added.
Similarly, extension of trains to different parts of the State in a planned manner will also be a major request to the Railway Ministry from ECoR.