Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reorganisation of railways in Odisha after the Centre created a separate zone for Andhra Pradesh.
The Railway Ministry has announced bifurcation of Bhubaneswar-headquartered East Coast Railway (ECoR) to create South Coast Railway (SCoR) to be headquartered at Visakhapatnam.
“As the government of India has created the SCoR considering the geographical area of the state, the similar demand of Odisha may be considered,” the Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister.
He also sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to declare two new Railway divisions at Rourkela and Jajpur to unify railways in Odisha under one administrative zonal headquarters of ECoR, Bhubaneswar.
“Till such time, I would request in the interest of the people of Odisha, not to operationalise the declared SCoR at Visakhapatnam, which has been done without consultation with Odisha,” said Patnaik.
Patnaik further said he had been demanding reorganisation of railways in Odisha with three new divisions.
Presently, about 70 per cent of Odisha is under the ECoR’s jurisdiction. An efficient and strong rail network with a single administrative structure within the state is necessary to maintain the impetus of growth, he added.
Odisha has huge reserves of most major minerals, like coal, iron ore, bauxite and manganese ore.
“Currently, major minerals like iron ore and coal are under zonal railways outside of Odisha. My government has also come forward to invest to bridge the funds gap in rail infrastructure,” he said.
“The commitment of my government to rail projects stands in excess of Rs 5,000 crore, signifying our focus and priority to this sector,” said Patnaik.