The Rail budget has evoked mixed reaction from the residents of Maoist-hit Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts of south Odisha.
While sanctioning of Jeypore-Malkangiri and Jeypore-Nabarangpur rail line projects are hailed, people are dejected as neither any new train has been announced from Koraput to Bhubaneswar nor any existing train extended to the area.
"Connecting Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts with rail line has been a long-standing demand of the people of this area and finally the twin projects have been sanctioned in the Rail Budget and we are happy for it," said BJD’s Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi.
While the estimated cost of construction of 130 km Jeypore-Malkangiri railway line has been estimated at Rs.1277 crore, construction of the 38 km Jeypore-Nabarangpur railway line costs Rs.485 crore.
"We hope the preliminary work for the twin projects will start soon. Once the two districts figure in the railway map of the county, it will boost the tribal-economy of the region, apart from easing the transportation problem of locals," Majhi said.
"However, no train has been allotted for Koraput which lies over 500 km away from Bhubaneswar. No existing train was also extended to the district for the benefit of the people here," said Jeypore’s Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati.
Extension of Koraput-Sambalpur passenger train up to Bhubaneswar and extension of Koraput-Rourkela Express up to Jeypore is a long-standing demand of the local people.
Hirakhand Express, the only train that runs between Bhubaneswar-Jagdalpur via Koraput, remains overcrowded always.