Report by Pravu Prasad Routray; Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urges Centre to commission Khurda Road-Puri Section (Doubling) before Nabakalebar Festival, 2015. Mr. Patnaik said in a letter to Railway Minister Mukul Roy.
CM Patnaik in his letter said that, "The holy place of Puri attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. Every year, about 10 lakh pilgrims congregate on the occasion of the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. Indian Railways facilitates the movement of this huge inllux of tourists through the introduction of around 50 special trains to cater to the passengers during the Rath Yatra. The festival of Nabakalebar is a very important event which is held at intervals of around 20 years. A huge congregation of pilgrims takes place during this unique event. In the last Nabakalebar, 1996, around 20 lakh pilgrims attended the festival. The next Nabakalebar Festival is going to be held in 2015, wherein around 40-50 lakh of pilgrims are expected. In order to cater to the transportation of this huge number, more than 100 special trains will be required in addition to the regular train services."
He further added that, "The existing Khurda-Puri branch line was sanctioned for doubling during t.he year 2000-0 l. But so far only a stretch of 15 Kms. from Khurda to Delang has been commissioned while the remaining 28.7 Kms. is yet to be completed. In order to meet the increased demand of train services for the next Nabakalebar festival, the line capacity of Puri-Khurda branch line has to be increased urgently."
Patnaik requested the minister to istruct the East Coast Railway Authority to take expeditious steps for completion of the aforesaid branch line and commissioning ofthe same before Nabakalebar, 2015.