Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make adequate budgetary allocation for the development of railway in the state.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Patnaik said though the railway's gross earnings from various stations in the state was more than Rs.14,000 crore during 2013-14, the rail density and route length was well below national average. "I would request you to kindly ensure allocation of a sizable part of the revenue generated from Odisha within the state itself for strengthening and expanding rail structure," he said.
Patnaik said that many ambitious projects of the central government like dedicated freight corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways and high speed train projects appeared to have completely bypassed Odisha although some of the country's largest investments in steel, aluminium and power sectors were coming up in the state. "The volume of investments in the state in diverse sectors at different stages is in excess of Rs.8.85 lakh crore," he said.
Patnaik added that the state government had taken important steps to create Greenfield ports that would be the country's gateway to international maritime trade as well as coastal shipping between the east and west coast of India having an expected growth of rail-borne traffic more than 300 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPRA) in the next five years.
"I have been requesting the railway ministry to put in place a time bound infrastructure upgradation arrangement for the ports coming up on the Odisha coast," he said.
Patnaik said a large part of Odisha, especially backward regions affected by Maoist activities, had been untouched by the railways so far. Delivering rail services was one of the best means to channelize development in the backward areas and provide counter-active force to left wing extremism, he said.