Orissa neglected in Railway budget-Naveen

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 (UNI)Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said it was disappointing that Orissa was again neglected in the Railway Budget for 2008-09.

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 in the railways.

The Chief Minister said the railway ministry had made a budgetary allocation of Rs 972 crore against the state's demand for Rs 1330 crore.

He regretted that no new railway line had been sanctioned and the Ranchi-Bhubaneswar Garib rath announced in the last budget have yet to be 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.

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 in the budget.

The Railway ministry prepared the budget to suit its own interest, he said.

Mr Patnaik 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 the completion of 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 allocation was made for the Lanjigarha-Junagarha railway line against the requirement of Rs 119.29 crore.

The Union Government did not incorporate even a single proposal of the government in the budget, he said.

The railway ministry did not incorporate the proposal to link the district headquarters of Phulbani, Kendrapara and Malkangiri with rail link 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 Orissa.

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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