With the Railways fixing a deadline for completion of the much awaited Haridaspur-Paradip new line project by March-end, work for the final linking of rail lines at Paradip-end has been started. The 42-km stretch from Haridaspur side to Kendrapara of the 82-km line has been completed and rolling of railway tower engine done last year after linking of the line with mainline at Haridaspur between October 1 and 3.
Once the line is integrated with Paradip yard, the rolling of the engine will make its way through the rest 40-km line from Kendrapara to Paradip before the trial run of train on the entire railway line. “Since Haridaspur-Paradip line was built as a separate project, it has to be integrated with the mainline at one end and Paradip station yard at the other. The track and signal have to be linked. The linking will be completed in two days and the left over works by end of next month,” said a senior railway official.
On completion, the project will bring Kendrapara district on railway map.
Managing Director of Haridaspur-Paradip railway line project Prasant Kumar Mishra said around 95 per cent work has been completed and the rest will be over by March. Signboards and telecommunication systems have been installed and work on level crossing completed. As many as 31 bridges and 171 minor bridges have been constructed over rivers, canals and other water bodies for the project.
The project, sanctioned in 1996-97, aims to facilitate movement of freight, export of finished products of steel plants and imported coking coal from Paradip to industries. The Kalinga Nagar industrial hub along with the mining belts of Jajpur and Keonjhar districts will be direct users of the railway line.
The then Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar had laid the foundation stone of the project near Marshaghai in the district on April 4, 1999 and promised to complete it by 2004. In November last year, the State Government had directed officials concerned to complete the project within the extended deadline of March, 2020.
The project has been considerably delayed in the past leading to escalation of the cost. The Union Government has recently allotted Rs 100 crore for the project. On completion, the rail distance between Daitari-Banspani iron ore belt and Paradip port will be reduced almost by half.
BJP leader and former MLA of Rajnagar Alekha Jena said in the past, Railway Ministers allocated meagre amounts for the project in the budget as a result of which it was moving at a snail’s pace. Construction work picked up pace after the NDA Government granted more funds to the project, he added.