Bhubaneswar, Jul 17 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Railway Board Chairman K C Jena to initiate steps for the expansion and augmentation of railway infrastructure in the state.
Mr Patnaik, who called on the Railway Board Chairman during his stay in New Delhi, said the expansion of the railway infrastructure was needed as the state was under thrust of a major industrial upsurge.
He said the railway route length in Orissa must be expanded as it was below the national average and much less than the neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.
The Chief Minister said lack of adequate rail infrastructure had hindered the socio-economic growth of the state and urged the Railway Board Chairman to increase allocation of fund to ensure speedy execution of sanctioned projects and undertake new projects.
Mr Patnaik said advent of railway line would lead to socio- economic development in the KBK region and stressed the need for sanction of 117 km Jeypore-Malkangiri railway line, expeditious completion of Daitari-Banspani broad gauge rail link, early commissioning of Cuttack-Barang doubling.
The Chief Minister also emphasised on introduction of new trains, increasing the frequency of mail and express trains and improvement in passenger amenities at various stations.
He said the state government has signed an MoU for setting up two alumina plants in KBK districts and demanded that the railway line between Lanjigarha and Bhawanipatna be commissioned early.
Mr Patnaik further said the railway lines to connect Rupsa- Burhamara-Chakulia, Nuapada-Gunupur-Theruvali and Banspani-Barbil should be taken up for the smooth movement of goods to all weather ports to be developed at Gopalpur, Dharma and Kirtania.
He regretted that though four new trains were announced in the railway budget 2008-09, they had not yet been introduced and asked the Railway Board Chairman to introduction of these trains at the earliest.
The Chief Minister also urged Mr Jena to initiate steps for the normalisation of the Balasore-Khargapur section disrupted due to flood in May last.
The Chairman assured the Chief Minister that the Puri- Keonjhargrh coaching train services would be introduced before October 2008 and promised to expedite all the railway projects in Orissa.
UNI BD-DP SJC RR RAI2117