Orissa neglected in Railway budget: Naveen

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today expressed dissappointment over the Railway budget for 2008-09,saying Orissa had once again been neglected.

Reacting to the Railway budget presented by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in Parliament, Mr Patnaik said Orissa had been neglected in the pre and post independence era.

The Chief Minister said the Railway ministry had made a budgetary allocation of Rs 972 crore against the state's demand for Rs 1,330 crore.

He regretted that no new railway line had been sanctioned and the Ranchi-Bhubaneswar Garib rath announced in the last budget had not yet been introduced.

The KBK region had been neglected and the state's demand to link naxal affected areas like Jaypore, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Gunupur and Therubali had been ignored, he stated.

State Transport Minister Jaynarayan Mishra described the budget as ''unfortunate and disappointing''.

He said the interest of the state had not been taken into consideration and the Railway ministry prepared the budget to suit his own interest.

Mr Mishra said a major portion of the funds allocated for the railway in the state was meant for electrification and doubling of inter-state railway lines and aimed at earning more revenue while only a token amount of money was allocated for completion of the ongoing projects.

Citing example,the Chief Minister said only Rs 32.4 crore was allocated for the Khurda-Bolangir railway line against the requirement of Rs 1000 crore and a mere Rs 35 crore was sanctioned for the Lanjigarha-Junagarha railway line against the requirement of Rs 119.29 crore.

The Centre had failed to incorporate even a single proposal of the government in the budget, he rued.

The Railway ministry did not incorporate the proposal to link the district headquarters of Phulbani, Kendrapara and Malkangiri and to run some new trains.

The Minister said though the railway was collecting a revenue of Rs 6000 crore per annum from the state it was not allocating proportionately for the development of railway in the state.

The Transport Minister said though Orissa had only 15 km of railway line per 1000 sq kms, against the national average of 19 kms, the railway ministry was not giving any importance to bring the state at par with the national average.

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