Side-stepping the question on the fate of proposed rail wagon projects in Ganjam and Kalahandi districts, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha on claimed the sector in the state gained during the BJP-led NDA government unlike the "neglect in past".
The country is witnessing a high level production of rail wagons compared to requirement and the focus, therefore, is on decongestion in Odisha sector, Sinha told reporters here.
He was responding to queries about the fate of the proposed wagon factory at Sitalpalli in Ganjam district and wagon repair unit at Narla in Kalahandi.
"There is surplus production of wagons in both public and private manufacturing sector," he said without giving a direct reply whether the proposed wagon factory would be set up at Sitalpalli, though a token Rs 1,000 was provided for it in the Railway Budget.
However, regarding the proposed wagon repair and overhauling unit at Narla, Sinha said necessary steps are being taken in this regard as part of plans to launch a number of projets for rapid development of railway in the state.
The matter has been discussed with the Odisha government, he said.
Claiming that Odisha had been "neglected" in the past, mainly in railway sector, Sinha said earlier an average Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,200 crore had been allocated in the rail budget.
However, the state is now getting benefitted substantially after the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre with around 30 per cent jump in its share in the Railway Budget, he claimed.
While Rs 3,712 crore was allocated for Odisha in the budget for 2015-16, the amount was further raised to Rs 4,682 crore in 2016-17 Rail Budget, the minister said. MORE PTI SKN SUS
Noting that the people of Odisha have high expectations from the Centre, Sinha said priority is on expanding rail connectivity across the state and improving passenger amenities.
The minister also visited the seaside pilgrim town of Puri and laid the foundation stone for the Puri railway station circulating area project.
Sinha, who was in Odisha as part of BJP’s nationwide ‘Yaad Karo Kurbani’ campaign, visited the native place of Chandan Hajuri, popularly known as Chakhi Khuntia, at Puri.
He also visited Sakshigopal and offered floral tributes to the Panchasakha. At Chandanpur, Sinha paid floral tributes to freedom fighter Jayi Rajguru. .
While laying foundation stone for improvement of the Circulating area at Puri Railway station, Sinha said the first priority given by Railways ministry is to complete pending Rail Projects where doubling of line to Puri from Delang was given highest importance.
Railway is one of the very few organisations to have completed all its work and kept its commitment.
"Our attention is focussed on completion of pending projects like Khurda Road-Balangir project, Haridaspur-Paradeep and Angul-Sukinda lines. These are monitored at the highest levels in this government," he said.
Sinha also said that highest ever allocations has been given to projects in Odisha in the last two years beating all records.
Laying the foundation-stone for improvement of circulating area is just one among the various steps being taken by Railways to improve this station and its infrastructure and many projects are lined up for the near future also for Puri and its nearby stations.
Remembering brave souls of Odisha like Chandan Hajuri Jayakrushna Rajguru and the "Panchasakhas" and also to recount their sacrifices for the country, Sinha said he is very happy to pay homage to the great souls in their birth place and felt lucky to be in this land of freedom fighters, saluting the spirit of this land and its people.