KHURDA ROAD-BALANGIR LINE CAN BE READY IN 3 YEARS IF LAND MADE AVAILABLE: ECOR
·There is no problem in construction of Khurda Road-Balangir line other than land acquisition and land to be made available to Railways. The entire line stretches from Km 0 to Km 289 crossing Khordha/Puri/Nayagarh/Boudh/Sonepur & Balangir districts.
·East Coast Railway has kept all infrastructure ready for the line including manpower and materials. The only constraint before Railways is the non-availability of land from State government, including few stretches of forest land.
The status of work completed and in progress is as follows: Line is ready & functional from Khurda Road upto Nayagarh Town (km 66) and ready up to Km 75.
ØIn Nayagarh district (from Km 93 to km 143), Preliminary notification for land acquisition was made by State Govt. in August-2017 only. Final land estimate not yet sanctioned.
ØIn Boudh district (from km 143 to km 239), Out of 102 villages Preliminary notification by State Govt. was issued for only 33 villages, and that too in September-2017.
ØIn Sonepur district (from km 239 to km 266), Out of total 30 villages where land has to be acquired, preliminary notice has been issued by State Govt. for only 13 villages in October, 2017.
·From the above details, it is clear that in none of the cases from km 93 to km 266 has any land been acquired at all by State Govt. Preliminary notifications in a few cases have been issued very recently.
·The total requirement of forest land in Nayagarh district is 147 acres. The forest land required in Boudh, Sonepur districts is 1400 acres. All this forest land still remains under various stages of processing.
·Railways will be able to ready the entire line within less than 3 years, if the land is properly made available to Railways.
·Land acquisition remains a problematic issue as it involves various stages. only after the Social Impact Study, Public Hearing at Gram Sabha levels and examination of Social Impact Assessment Study by Expert Committee is the preliminary notification issued. Between issue of Pre notification and final notification, a number of gaps remain to be filled up. This is taking a lot of time now.
·Railways will be able to perform better if the land acquisition process is speeded up. Recently, an aerial survey of the land stretch from Balangir side upto Bhainsapalli and from Nayagarh side upto Nuagaon has been conducted. Railway’s men and material are kept ready and everything is waiting for availability of clear land.
·As of now, the following targets are being given. Bhainsapalli station from Balangir side would be made operational by March-2018, while station at Mahipur will be ready by about the same time. Further progress is hindered because of land acquisition problems.
·Railway Board has expressed grave concern over cost and time overruns due to delay in land acquisition. Even Railway’s progress on various portions of the project is badly hampered due to uncertainty in land acquisition.
·Railway tenders/positioning of other manpower and further planning can be streamlined, only if land is assured and proper timeline given by State Govt.