Monday, October 13, 2014

Letter to PM: Make Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore as smart cities and immediately establish a direct rail link between these cities

The Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi

Honorable Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr. Patnaik
Honorable Urban Development Minister Mr Naidu
Honorable Railway Railway Minister Mr. Sadananda Dowda

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi,
I am happy to learn that your Government is taking few good steps towards overall sanitation and development across the states within India. The development to minimize the difference between coastal and hilly region is appreciable, for instance proposal to include some coastal and some hilly region in smart cities proposal is praise worthy. However, there are still few challenges regarding geographical inequality within the states.

Earlier most of the time development was confined to within 200 km radius of a particular region. Specifically, in Odisha it was limited to Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Berhampur and in few instances Rourkela and Sambalpur. However, recently state Govt. is slowly changing this orthodox mind set and considering to bring locations in KBK region which are not only located far from coastal cities of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Puri, Balasore etc., but also far from north western cities like Rourkela and Sambalpur. I must welcome inclusion of 3 towns of KBK region for the new six STPI in Odisha by both the state and central Government.

The state Government has also proposed to include Bhawanipatna, Jeypore and Balangir in the smart cities. We are hopeful the center will kindly look into the matter sympathetically and consider to include these three towns despite the population of these towns are less than 200,000.  It should be noted that population of towns/cities in hilly regions of India including those of Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern states, etc. are always low. KBK region in Odisha is considered like North Eastern states and Himachal Pradesh.

Recently Odisha is emerging as a fast developing states in India. All around development of the state is quite important for inclusive growth of the country. It is in the interest of the Odisha state to develop new smart cities across the state by distributing in different geographical area.

Primarily, development around state capital Bhubaneswar, which includes other nearby cities like Cutatck, Puri, Khordha, etc has been phenomenal, similarly Rourkela-Sambalpur-Angul is emerging for mining based industries. However, KBK region of the state is located far away from the state capital and Sambalpur-Rourkela region and is lagging behind in industrial development, although this region has a great potential in development based on bauxites mining, tourism and agriculture. Kalahandi has emerged as a top 25 rice-producing district in the nation.

The district headquarter of Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna, is centrally located among all the KBK districts and also among the tribal dominated South Western Odisha which is far from state capital. However, instead of developing a urban city with all modern facilities, higher education, service, and industries, the state Govt. was earlier concentrating Sambalpur and Berhampur with the respective regional tag as Western Odisha and Southern Odisha, which hindered overall urban development of KBK region.

Development of this urban area like Bhawanipatna into a smart modern city will impact a large part of socially backward and mineral rich portion of Odisha. It will also bring economic growth and social development to the neighboring Chhattisgarh state. Considering all aspects, union Govt. of India had already identified Bhawanipatna along with Bhubaneswar in Odisha under the program to improve socioeconomic condition of urban poor.

The twin cities Bhubaneswar-Cuttack lack metro facility. Similarly, a local train and inter-city link could be made between Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Jeypore to trigger development within KBK region, which will be in the line of Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Sambalpur and Sambalpur-Angul-Cuttack/Bhubaneswar railway lines.

Therefore, I urge to consider sympathetically Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore for smart cities and immediately establish a direct rail link between these cities along with a metro train for Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khordha.

Thank you

With best regards

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