Congress criticises Naveen over Railway budget Letter to PM

TNI Bureau: Odisha Congress has strongly criticised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the railway budget letter that sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention demanding sizeable budget allocation for the state.

Reacting over the letter, Odisha Congress General Secretary Acharya Kumar Gyanedra said in a press release said that Naveen’s allegation that the state has not received money from the Centre for the development of railway in the state was unjustified.

If the CM wants the welfare of the state for a minute, the state could have witnessed development in all the sectors. If he wants benefits for the state, he could have met the PM after taking opposition’s opinion to discuss the railway budget, Gyanedra said.

However, the CM did not consult the opposition leaders but wrote a letter to the PM seeking  allocation of a sizeable part of the revenues generated from Odisha within the state to strengthen and expand the rail infrastructure, he alleged.

He demanded that the CM should explain how many times he has written letter to the PM requesting to increase the amount for the state in the rail budget.

The strong reaction came after Naveen wrote a letter to PM drawing his attention over the allocation in rail budget to Odisha. The Centre has slashed Rs 280 crore in three phases out of Odisha’s budgetary allocation of Rs 723 crore for 2012-13.

In his letter Patnaik said, “…the railway route length and rail density in Odisha is much lower than the national average as also substantially lower than that in neighbouring states. In contrast, the gross earnings from various stations in Odisha is estimated to be in excess of Rs 14,000 crore during the year 2012-13.”

Naveen also requested Dr Singh for a synchronised development plan between ports and related rail connectivity.

He also stressed on increase of connectivity between ports in the state and the rest of the country. He wrote that the eastern dedicated freight corridor from Ludhina to Dakuni should be extended to Vishakapatnam to ensure seamless movement of freight and the vast northern and central hinterlands of the country.

He also demanded the construction of rail links including Bhadarachalam Road-Talcher rail link via Malkangiri, Jeypore, Lanjigarh, Sambalpur-Brahmapur new rail link via Phulbani and Rayagada-Gopalpur rail link via Bhismagiri.

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