[Watch] Odisha Gets 19% More Than What It Had Demanded For Rail Sector: Ashwini Vaishnaw
Bhubaneswar: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday said that Rs 10,012 crore has been sanctioned for railway infrastructure projects in Odisha. This is the highest-ever allocation for the state.
“Odisha sought an allocation of Rs 8,400 crore but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given Rs 10,012 crore for the 2023-24 financial year,” he said.
For people flying to Odisha to visit Jagannath Temple in Puri, Lingaraj Road station is being constructed nearby where they will be taken to in a battery-operated vehicle from the airport to board a train to Pilgrim Town, he said.
Vaishnaw further said that 280 km of new tracks will be laid in the state and 57 stations will be modernised. “Our objective is to improve passenger connectivity and amenities in Odisha. The passengers’ reservation system will be revamped,” he told mediapersons.
The Indian railways plans to increase its capacity to issue tickets from 25,000 to nearly 2.25 lakh per minute while attending to enquiries from four lakh to 40 lakh per minute. Jan Suvidha convenience stores will be constructed at 2,000 railway stations across the country and these will remain open round the clock, he said.
“We have to rise above politics and work for the betterment of people. There has been good progress in work on projects in the state,” he added.
He further informed that Vande Metro, a mini version of the Vande Bharat Express trains, will be developed by the Railways for people living around big cities to travel to and fro in comfort between their place of work and hometowns. “It will be like a shuttle service and can be run between places within a distance of 50 km like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The design will be ready by August this year and it will be rolled out next year,” he said.
Odisha had got around Rs 6,303 crore for railway infrastructure in the last budget against its demand of Rs 7,600 crore from the Centre. The overall allocation in the railway sector was Rs 9,734 crore, which included state share and extra-budgetary resources.
Notably, rail density in the state at 18 is much lower as compared to the national average of 21 and that of the neighbouring states of West Bengal (48) and Jharkhand (33) despite generating annual freight revenue of about Rs 20,000 crore for Indian Railways.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the highest-ever capital outlay for the railways in the Union Budget 2023-24 at Rs 2.40 lakh crore.
The Rail Minister had earlier said that India will get its first Hydrogen train by December 2023 which will be completely indigenously manufactured. It will initially be run on heritage circuits like Kalka-Shimla. “For infrastructure growth, the corridor approach will be used. Energy corridor, separate corridors for hilly areas, Janjatiya Gaurav Corridor, cement corridor… it will be a combination of social and economic corridors.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget in 2017, ending a practice that began in 1924 under the British.
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