With gross earnings of the Railways from Odisha projected to be in excess of Rs 14,000 crore for 2013-14, the state government has sought allocation of Rs 3160 crore in the ensuing Railway Budget.
In the last Railway Budget, Odisha received only Rs 869 crore against its demand of Rs 3,050 crore.
“The railway route length and density in Odisha is well below national average as also substantially lower than that in neighbouring states. In contrast, gross earnings originating from various stations in the state is estimated to be in excess of Rs 14,000 crore during 2013-14. I would request you to kindly ensure allocation of a sizeable part of the revenues generated from Odisha within the state itself for strengthening and expediting rail infrastructure”, chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his pre-Rail Budget proposal.
Justifying the state's demand, Patnaik said the volume of investments in the state in diverse sectors at different stages is in excess of Rs 8.85 lakh crore. Besides, growth in rail borne traffic is projected to cross 300 million tonne per annum in the next five years, he said, pitching for a time-bound infrastructure upgradation arrangement for the ports coming up on the Odisha coast.
“A synchronized development plan between those of the ports and related rail connectivity is a necessity for maximizing economic gains. In this context, the eastern dedicated freight corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni should be extended to Berhampur so as to ensure seamless movement of freight between the ports and the vast northern and central hinterlands of the country”, Patniak wrote in the letter.
Since a sizeable part of Odisha is backward and affected by Left Wing extremism, the chief minister has pressed for fast execution of already sanctioned rail link projects like Bhadrachalam Road-Talcher rail link (via Malkangiir, Jeypore and Lanjigarh), Sambalpur-Berhampur rail link via Phulbani and Rayagada-Gopalpur rail link.
The state government has also proposed developing dedicated rail corridors in the Angul-Talcher coal belt, Basundhara coal belt in Jharsuguda-Sundargarh and Banspani-Nayagarh iron ore region through special purpose vehicles (SPVs).