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Odisha Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu wrote to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to ask him to approve a new Padampur-to-Bargarh railway line on Sunday.

In a letter to the Union Minister, Sahu said, "I have received a memorandum from the people of Padampur submitted to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, requesting to sanction the important new railway line between Bargarh and Nuapada. via Padampur."

Referring to an announcement made by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a public meeting Sahu stated that "On December 14, 2018 Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a public meeting announced that Central Government has sanctioned the project and same was also highlighted by the cabinet minister in his social media account."

He said that the Odisha government and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik have been asking the Ministry of Railways to approve the railway line since 2018.

According to Sahu, an East Coast Railway study found that the project has a Rate of Return (ROR) of 17.31%, and the Ministry of Railways was informed of this in January 2019.

"This railway project can offer an important communication link to the people of the two districts of Odisha and act as a potential catalyst for the rapid economic development of Westem Odisha. With this new line, the Western Odisha region will get shorter and quicker connectivity with the Coastal Odisha through the Khurda -- Balangir line," said the Odisha Minister.

However, contrary to the above announcement by Union Minister Pradhan, Sahu said the Ministry of Railways in 2019 communicated that the proposed new line has been shelved as it did not appear to be "financially viable, despite the high ROR, which is much beyond the requirement for approving a new line."

Sahu referred to the Railway Board's letter from October 10, 2019, in which the Board requested free land and reimbursement for RR costs associated with land acquisition in consideration of the project.Furthermore, on this solicitation, he said Boss Clergyman Patnaik endorsed not just free land for the whole task (private, government and woodland land) yet in addition promised 300 crore towards the development of the undertaking so it turns out to be considerably more rewarding for Indian Railroads to authorize the venture.

"Despite Odisha government coming forward to offer with all cooperation, the important project is still waiting to advance from paperwork and surveys through other agencies," he said.

According to the Odisha minister, the Ministry of Railways has suggested that ORIDL, a state-led joint venture, conduct the surveys. 

He stated that the Indian Railways needed to act immediately, allocate funds, and begin work on the new line due to its enormous benefits.

"Therefore, in the interest of the people of Odisha, I would request you to reconsider the decision of your ministry and sanction this very important railway line and entrust East-Coast Railways to begin the land acquisition process and start construction work expeditiously. Odisha government has always prioritised infrastructure development in Western and Southern Odisha and built Biju Expressway for accelerated economic development in the region, We request you to come forward and invest in this important railway line and be a partner in the socio-economic development of Padampur and adjoining region," urged Sahu. 

With inputs from ANI

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Updated: 21 Nov 2022, 06:19 AM IST
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