The Planning Commission has accorded “in principle” approval to the construction of a new railway line, connecting the port town of Gopalpur in Ganjam district to Rayagada, an industrial hub, in south Odisha.
The cost of this 258-km rail line is estimated at Rs 1,392.32 crore.
The feasibility survey of the proposed line was conducted by the Ministry of Railways at a cost of Rs 4 crore in 2009. The ministry had submitted the report to the Planning Commission for approval three years ago.
“Since the Planning Commission has already approved the project, we hope the Railways will make budgetary provisions for it in the next Railway budget,” said Chandra Sekhar Sahu, former Union minister and Congress leader.
Sahu said, he would meet the Railways minister soon to urge him to make maximum budgetary allocation for the project.
He also called upon the state government to extend all help to construct the new railway line. The new railway line, according to him, would boost industrialisation in southern Odisha including Ganjam and Rayagada districts.
While a number of core manufacturing industries including aluminium refineries of Utkal Alumina and Aditya Alumina are being set up in Rayagada, J K Paper, which already has unit there, is looking to ramp up capacity.
Similarly, an all-weather port is being constructed at Gopalpur by Gopalpur Port Limited (GPL), while a sister port of the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) has been proposed at Bahuda near Gopalpur town.
The commissioning of the new railway line will lift the standard of living of the locals besides promoting business activities, Sahu said.