Puri: Former Union minister Braja Kishore Tripathy has urged the prime minister to double the Khurda Road-Puri rail line much before the world famous Nabakalebar festival of Lord Jagannath in 2015.
Tripathy in his letter submitted to the prime minister recently reminded that for the doubling of 44 km rail line from Khurdha Road to Puri, the Indian Railways had already sanctioned money in 2001after the matter was debated in the Parliament by him when he was the Union Minister for Steel in the NDA-led Government at the Centre.
The railway stations of Maltipatpur, Janakadeipur (Chandanpur), Sakhigopal, Birapurustottampur, Kanas Road and Motori have not yet been developed despite repeated demands since 2001, Tripathy mentioned in his letter.
The East Coast Railway (ECoR) in Odisha was established in 1996 and it started functioning in 2003. Since then the issue was raised in the Parliament on many occasions for doubling of the railway line between Khurda Road and Puri but in vain, he lamented.
After completion of phase I work comprising of 15 km, the phase II work of 29 km between Delang and Puri has not yet started.
A detailed survey for phase II of doubling of Puri-Delang railway line had been done twice in 2009-10. Though during 2010-11, only a paltry sum of Rs2 crore was sanctioned in the Railway Budget, the sum was diverted for some other project. Worse, no further initiative was taken during 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 Railway Budget for sanctioning the money for the project, the former MP pointed out.
The railway authorities are lackadaisical about the project which was evident in the year 2011 and 2012 in the high level coordination meeting of car festival.
It was known in the meeting that that the works were hindered largely due to non acquisition of land by the railways authorities. The passengers and the tourists are subjected to untold misery since the trains are habitually running late due to non completion of the works, he said in the letter.
Tripathy further pointed out in the letter that the Khurda road division during 2011-12 earned Rs 440.35 crore as revenue from train passengers alone registering a growth by 5.5 per cent over the 2010-11.
While the railways is doing a splendid job in connecting various parts of the country as a part of the task of nation building, the non completion of the doubling of rail line from Khurda to Puri has given a bad experience to lakhs of travelers and rail users, who come to the pilgrim city, Tripathy wrote in the letter.
He said that since a crore of people will assemble to witness the grand reincarnation festival at Puri in 2015, the prime minister must direct the railways to complete the project at least before the event.