Indian Railways is trying to broaden the rail network in Odisha as it is a priority state for the Centre, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said here today.
“Indian Railways is trying its best to further broaden the railway network in Odisha to make it as one of the finest in the country,” Sinha told reporters after reviewing progress in the East Coast Railways zone here.
Replying to a question on alleged negligence towards Odisha by the Railways, Sinha said “In the last two Railway Budgets, the state got more allocations. They were more than the state government’s expectations.”
“It is our priority and the special interest of the Prime Minister to invest more in states like Odisha,” he said.
On the review of railway projects in the state, Sinha said “I had detailed discussion on the project works completed last year, the ongoing project works to be completed this year and the future action plan for infrastructure development to provide better railway service in Odisha in the coming days.”
Unconnected areas of the state would be given priority in linking and “All new projects to be expedited with early tendering,” he said.
The Minister directed the ECoR officials to focus on passenger amenities.
“The Minister suggested the ECoR to prepare a roadmap for next 25 years’ industrial progress of Odisha,” an official said.
Besides making plans for rail connectivity to ports, Sinha stressed on expediting work of the Talcher-Bimalagarh new line.
“There will be sufficient allocation of funds,” he told officials at the review meeting.
Asked about the state government’s demand of new trains, Sinha said “They will be examined positively.”
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was present at the review meeting, said the meeting had a detailed discussion on the expenditure performance of the last two Railway Budgets and the expenditure for the ensuing budget.
“I had a detailed discussion with some industrial organisations and senior citizens who had given good proposals on development of railway infrastructure in the state. We have discussed those proposal in the meeting. Efforts are on by the Railway Ministry to incorporate these proposals in the forthcoming Railway Budget. I hope Odisha will get its desired share in the next Railway Budget,” Pradhan said.