BHUBANESWAR: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik expressed concern over reports of shifting of the wagon repair factory proposed at Narla in Kalahandi district to Visakhapatnam and sought clarification from the railway minister Suresh Prabhu in this regard.
“I hope that recent reports on the shifting of the wagon maintenance workshop from Odisha to Andhra Pradesh are not true and I would request a line of confirmation from you to assuage the feelings of neglect and hurt the people of Odisha have suffered,” the chief minister said in a letter to the railway minister.
Stating that Kalahandi, a part of KBK area of Odisha is in dire need of industrialisation, the chief minister said Railways have three large coach/wagon workshops in Andhra Pradesh while has none.
The chief minister said the East Coast Railway (ECR), which is largely present in Odisha and is the number one loading railway zone of Indian Railway, does not have a single wagon maintenance workshop in the State. “It is logical and natural that a Railway Zone that does more than 70 percent of its loading and unloading in Odisha requires a maintenance workshop in the same state,” he said.
Naveen said the then railway minister had declared in the railway budget 2013-14 to set up a ‘new wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi district’. The state government had offered two patches of land measuring 70.02 acres and 44.7 acres near Narla road station for this project, he said.
The state government in view of the benefit to the state granted complete exemption of water after the East Coast Railway (ECR) requested permission to draw water from Tel river for free or at a subsidised rate.
Another new wagon maintenance workshop for ECR at Visakhapatnam was announced in 2015-16 railway budget, but no allocation was made for the proposed workshop in Kalahandi. There is also no allocation for Kalahandi workshop in 2016-17 budget, he said.