Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announces new railway line connecting Puri and Konark

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha from Odisha, said the new railway stretch will be developed into a spiritual and heritage tourism corridor

February 20, 2024 07:29 pm | Updated 08:00 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses a press conference in New Delhi.

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses a press conference in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

The Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a new 32 kilometre railway line connecting the temple towns of Puri and Konark that are famous for the Shree Jagannath Temple and Sun Temple, respectively, said Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw here on Tuesday.

Mr. Vaishnaw, who was elected unopposed from Odisha to the Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday, said: “There had been a long demand to connect Puri and Konark with a railway network. Mr. Modi has sanctioned the project. We will develop the rail stretch as a corridor of spiritual, heritage and coastal tourism.”

Vistadome train

“An amount of ₹492 crore has been sanctioned for laying 32 km of new railway line. We plan to run a Vistadome train, an all-weather glass-ceiling AC train. People can enjoy the view from inside the coaches,” the Minister said.

Also read: Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw files nomination for Rajya Sabha polls from Odisha

“There is also a plan to make passengers experience the rich Jagannath culture during travel. We will use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies and the concept will be finalised in consultation with sevayats (traditional priests) of Shree Jagannath Temple and administrators associated with the temple,” Mr. Vaishnaw said.

‘Sought land for project’

“We are soliciting cooperation from the State government about acquisition of land. About 215 hectare of land will be required for the project. Funds have been allocated while the design is being fine-tuned.  We also plan to come up with four to five special tourist heritage hubs in the railway stretch. We will also seek Odisha government’s cooperation for allotting land for the purpose,” he elaborated.

During the past 10 years, construction of 409 railway overbridges and railway underpasses at an investment of ₹10,000 crore has been completed. Work is going on in 220 new railway overbridges and underpasses.

The Centre had sanctioned 5,333 telecom towers at a cost ₹5,600 crore. “Within a short span of time, 684 towers are completed while work has commenced with regard to 3,112 towers. Rest towers will be erected as soon as land is made available by the State government,” said Mr. Vaishnaw, who also holds the Communications and Electronics and Information Technology ministries.

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