New Delhi: The Centre has allocated Rs 5,252 crore for the railway infrastructure development in Odisha in the Union Budget 2018, the highest ever budgetary allocation to the state till date.
The allocation made during the 2018-19 fiscal is about Rs 150 crore more than the previous year’s allocation. In 2017-18, Odisha had received Rs 5102 crore for the Railway sector.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on January 17 placed a demand of Rs 6,500 crore before the Centre for railway infrastructure development during 2018-19 fiscal.
Patnaik’s demanded included metro rail lines for the Twin Cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, six new rail lines for Brahmapur-Phulbani-Sambalpur, Bargarh-Nuapara via Padmapur, Bhadrachalam-Malkangiri, Talcher-Gopalpur, Gopalpur-Sangapur road and Lanjigarh-Talcher.
The ruling BJD, however, criticised the BJP led NDA government for ignoring the state government’s demands in the 2018-19 budget. “They have ignored the demands made by the state. After all, Indian Railways earns about Rs 15,000 crore from Odisha every year,” BJD spokesman P K Deb told reporters.
“We had demanded Rs 6,500 crore for the development of railway sector in Odisha, but the Centre has allocated Rs 5, 252 crore. It is only 2.5 per cent rise than the last year’s allocation,” the Times of India quoted Nrusingha Charan Sahu, state commerce and transport minister as saying. He dubbed the budget allocation disappointing.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, on the other hand, thanked Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Railway Minister for the allocation of Rs 5252 crore against the previous UPA government’s annual average allocation of only Rs 838 crore for Odisha. (With agency inputs)