After 17 years, the first phase of Khurda-Bolangir project is yet to be completed

The State government has constituted a seven-member-committee for monitoring and resolving issues concerning to land acquisition for major railway projects in the State.

The committee will be headed by Principal Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Mitigation Department.

Of the other six members, three are from the Government - Secretary, Commerce and Transport Department, Secretary to Works Department and Commissioner Railway Coordination (CRC) and Special Secretary to Commerce and Transport Department.

Two members - Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) and Chief General Engineer - are from East Coast Railway while the sixth member is Chief Project Manager of Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL). The CRC will be the Member-Convenor.

Every review meeting taken up either by the State government or East Coast Railway finds land acquisition as the hindrance factor in a railway projects in the State.

The most glaring project which could not progress due to problems in land acquisition is 289-km-long Khurda-Bolangir railway line which was sanctioned in 1994-95. After 17 years, the first phase of the project is yet to be completed.

Railway officials on condition of anonymity blame the State government’s inability to provide land for the delay in execution of the project.

Another railway project, which is now almost a decade-old project and has not achieved 10 per cent of progress, is 154 km Talcher-Bimlagarh line.

In this project, lack of coordination among government departments appears to have held back the project.

Although sizeable amount of private land has been acquired for the project, necessary regulatory clearances for forestland before acquisition of land for the project have not been obtained.

Two railway projects – Haridaspur-Paradip Rail link and Angul-Dubri-Sukinda Road – are considered to be commercially viable and much of industrialisation envisaged by the State government depends on the projects.

But problems in land acquisition have hurt the projects badly.

Jharusguda-Rengali doubling project needed at least 119.85 acre land and so far, 57.53 acre private has been acquired and possession taken.

Alienation proposal for the 51.89 acre government land has been submitted while diversion of 10.43 acre forest land is pending with the Divisional Forest Officer.

This project, sanctioned in 2007, was originally estimated at Rs. 91.41 crore but has been revised to Rs. 201.17 crore.

  • State government’s inability to provide land blamed for the delay in execution of the project

  • Talcher-Bimlagarh line is almost a decade-old and has not achieved 10 p.c. of progres