In a significant development, Safety Inspection has been carried out on 17.5 km of the Bimlagarh-Talcher new rail line project. Four wagons were run on the completed stretch of the project on December 29 in presence of Railway Safety Commissioner of ECoR, Shri A K Rai. Once it gets safety certification, the stretch would be ready for use.
ECoR chief spokesperson JP Mishra said the railway authorities have recently obtained necessary land and forest clearances up to next 43 km and works are in advance stage towards Parabil, Samal and Khamar.
With Odisha Government’s cooperation, efforts are underway to speed up land acquisition and forest clearance processes in the remaining areas of other sections.
The land acquisition process had simultaneously started from Sundargarh side with the setting up of a land acquisition cell at Bonai.
The cell was to coordinate with tehsil offices of Bonai, Lahunipara and Koida. However, land acquisition has not been satisfactory for varied reasons and is at least six month behind schedule.
Slow pace of acquiring land in Sundargarh has emerged as a concern as the ECoR had categorically stated that the project would be completed by the revised target of December 2022 subject to completion of land acquisition and forest clearance by December 2019.
So far, only 17.5 km could be completed though the project was sanctioned in 2003-04.
This key railway infrastructure project has been by delay despite it being included under Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation (PRAGATI) initiative for effective monitoring and review by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) every month.
ECoR has been given possession of only 466.795 hectare (ha) out of the total requirement of 2088.77 ha of private, Government and forest land till July, 2019.
The Centre has allocated around Rs 1,132.50 crore for the project since 2014-15. The estimated project cost is `2,088 crore for the 149.70 km stretch.