|Petition||Posted By: hindtodaynews on:12/20/2012 8:48:22 PM|
Council of States (Rajya Sabha)
Build India GroupDelhi - 110092
Railway Project, with 121 years saga of neglect, requires urgent attention for
its completion )
the present petition is being preferred to bring to the notice of the Hon’ble
Members of the Parliament the saga of a Railway line mooted way back in 1891
between Sambalpur in Western part and Khurda Road in Eastern Part of Odisha and
the project is still virtually lying in limbo. Surveyed way back in 1891, the
114-mile Railway line connecting Sambalpur and Khurda via Sonepur was proposed
for construction at a cost of Rs 1.19 lakh per mile and the total cost of the
project was estimated at Rs 2.27 crore.
But the Bengal Nagpur Railways company could not proceed with this
project due to dearth of funds.
2. It is very pertinent to mention here that
another important rail project between Sambalpur and Cuttack was planned in 1885 connecting eastern part
and western part of Odisha, for which
foundation stone was laid by the then Congress General Secretary Rajeev Gandhi
in 1985 and the train started running in 1998.
Precisely the train stared running 113 years after it was mooted. Now
over 121 years have passed ever since the Khurda-Bolangir (earlier known
Sambalpur-via-Sonepur near Bolangir- Khurda) railway line was mooted.
Construction for the present project started 17 years ago and the rail line has
been constructed upto 16 kilometers averaging less than a kilometer per year. If
this is the pace in which the construction continues it is well imaginable as
to how many more years will it take for completion of another 273 kilometers of
this project. Railway Board takes it as social project and keeps it in low
priority on the ground that it is not a commercially viable project
notwithstanding the fact that the Railways gets at least Rs 6000/- crore
revenue from the state per annum. The petitioner intends to demonstrate that it
is going to be highly profit making and also life line for the people of this
state and deserves to be a national project.
IN ODISHA- AN OVERVIEW ;-
to independence, between 1900 and 1942, Odisha had a rail track of 1300 kilometers. Between 1942 and this year, the total railway
line constructed is less than 1000 kilometers. While the Railways collect Rs
6000 crore revenue from Odisha every year, it spends only two per cent of revenue
in Rail network in Odisha. Odisha averages 14 kilometers network in every 1000
sq kilometers against the national average of 19 kilometers per 1000 sq
kilometers. West Bengal tops this average at 43 kilometers followed by Bihar with 30 kilometers. Clearly, the coal rich Odisha
state has never got attention of the Railway authorities and announcements with
regard to various rail projects are just eyewash to only befool the people of
Odisha. Khurada-Bolangir Railway line, for which foundation stone has been laid
14 times on different occasions, is probably the single example of delay and
apathy in the history of Railway in the country.
BACKGROUND OF KHURDA-BOLANGIR RAIL LINE:
the purpose of providing a brief background to the project, the petitioner
intends to quote a relevant portion from Chapter 17 under heading
“Sambalpur-Khurda Connection” in a book titled “The Blue Chip Railway” by
former senior Railway official R R Bhandari. The relevant portion reads as
for a line from Sambalpur to Khurda near Cuttack
was first made in 1891-92, proposing a rail link running parallel to the Great Eastern Highway.
The object of this survey was to ascertain the cost of connecting Sambalpur
with East Coast Railway by a line running south of Mahanadi.
Prior to it, a survey was made in 1885 for connecting Sambalpur with Cuttack by a route north of Mahanadi.
The survey of 1891-92 was completed in October 1892. It brought out that the
line located would not involve very heavy works save for a bridge over Mahanadi and tunnel of about 1400 feet length. It was
estimated that the whole line of about 190 mile length would cost about Rs 2.27
crore or Rs 1.19 lakh per mile.
Administrative Report of 1893-94 closes the chapter with the following remarks:
of Sambalpur-Khurda line has been postponed for want of funds”.
book, which has been published by CPRO, South Eastern Railway in 1998, further
reads that during 1898-99, while a survey was being made for
Raipur-Vizianagaram line, survey for a branch line from Sointala (Now Titlagarh
in Bolangir District) to Sonpur was also made in order to effect a junction
with the suggested railway from Sambalpur via Sonpur to Khurda Road on the East
Coast State Railway. Since the construction of Raipur-Vijianagaram main line
was deferred, the extension from Sambalpur was deferred.
The Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) authorities
had felt the importance of this rail link to the tribal-dominated and
under-developed undivided districts of Balangir, Kalahandi,
Koraput and Phulbani and accordingly a commercial survey for the Khurda
Road-Balangir railway line was started in 1945.
per the Railway Board (RB) letter no.R/45C/81, dated 12.6.1945, the initial
survey was completed after seven years and Rs`4.98 crore was planned for the primary
the project could not start during 1945-46 due to its commercial viability. As
per the survey report, its income was only 0.28 per cent per annum against the
Indian Railway’s annual income.
RB further appointed the Nagpur Railway and RITES to make a primary commercial
survey of the Khurda Road-Bolangir project for a long period and as per the
letter No. 84/W4/CNL/SE/6 dtd 21.6.1984 referred to the RB, `208.80 crore was
planned for it.
was again found out that the project would yield only one per cent income per
annum which was also deemed not viable and the project could not start its
the RB directed the RITES to make a survey and as per the letter no
84/w4/CNL/SE/6 dtd 18.12.1990, Rs 286.97 crore was planned for the primary
expenditure of the project and 8.44 per cent of income per annum.
proposal was sent to the RB for final approval (vide letter no.AES/Khurda,
Bolangir M/15 dtd 8.2.91) while the RB again acknowledged it as not
commercially-viable and the project could not start.
then Planning Commission Deputy Chairman reviewed all the survey reports in
1993 and directed for a fresh survey report.
a primary survey started as per the RB’s instruction (vide letter no.
84/W4/CNL/SE/8 dtd 6.9.93).
to the latest survey report, the Khurda Road-Bolangir railway line covers only
289 km of the districts of Khurda, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Bolangir. A
660-mtr-long big bridge over the Tel river and 11 tunnels to be constructed.
The total length of the tunnels is 6.30 km while around 435 bridges, 32 big
ones, need to be constructed. The project cost was estimated at Rs 700 crore.
the project covers 225 villages, 2,442 hectares of land required for
acquisition, 124 level crossings, 17 railway stations, two junctions and 15
crossing stations to be constructed. Another 11 small stations to be opened
after the railway track work is over between Khurda Road and Bolangir. It is submitted
that the land acquisition for this project has already been completed for phase
per the 1993 survey report, while Rs`102
crore of income is estimated to be generated from the passengers, `160 crore is
pegged at from the freights as it could transport around 4.5 million
tons of graphite, granite and other materials from western Odisha per
year. What is clearly overlooked is that it could be the shortest connecting
line between Damanjodi in Koraput (where bauxite is prospected) and NALCO and
apparently this will be single most reason why this rail link is so important.
Odisha is struggling with Maoist activity. The western part of Orissa with high
tribal populace deserves a special attention so that it will connect eastern
and western Odisha culturally and boost the economic activities in the state.
highlight of this project is that it will be the main freight corridor for
Nalco and reduce the distance between Damanjodi in Koraput to NALCO in Angul by
about 200 kilometers. It is the main communication line between the
Eastern-part and western part of the state and is as important as the
Sambalpur-Talcher Railway line. Besides, alumina, it will also be used as a
freight corridor for about 4.5 million tonnes of graphite, granite and other
materials. Once it is connected to Bolangir, it will connect the existing Rail
network connecting Koraput, Kesinga and Bargarh and it will be a major life
line for people of tribal populated Western Odisha in general and a highly
profit making project for the railways. This tract now requires urgent
attention, as the line connects to the Kalahandi-Bolangir and Koraput (KBK)
Region, helps deal with developmental activities in Maoists affected areas and
ensure impetus to the economic activities in the state.
strong wave of resentment is brewing against the Center’s allegedly apathetic
attitude towards the State in the development of the railways here.
Rs `20 crore was allotted for Khurda Road-Balangir rail project for fiscal
2007-08, the expenses made was only Rs `6.34 crore, `Rs 32 .40 crore was
allotted in 2008-09 and expenditure was Rs 3.50 crore, `Rs 28.07 crore in
2009-10 and expenditure was `Rs 19.36 crore only. Rs 120 crore was allocated in
2011 and Rs 60 crore in the last budget. Most amounts of the allocated funds
for the project come back.
the last few years, resentment is gradually brewing and it may take a shape of
movement because the just demand of the people of Odisha is not only a state
project, it justifies to be a national project keeping in view the possibility
of industrialization and high economic
activities changing the economic conditions of poverty-struck mineral rich
in view the aforesaid background, it is respectfully prayed that the Hon’ble
Council of States (Rajya Sabha) may be pleased to direct the appropriate
authorities for completion of this project at the earliest possible time.
President- Build India Group
(A Civil Society which believes in
Good citizenry for a healthy country)
Delhi - 110092
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