The MoU was signed in the presence of the Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State (Independent Charge) Department of Commerce and Transport Government of Odisha Ramesh Chandra Majhi. Chairman, Railway Board, A.K. Mital, Board Members and senior officials of Railway Board and Government of Odisha were also present on the occasion.
In view of the growing demands for railway lines in various states and huge requirement of funds to execute them, Suresh Prabhu had announced in his budget speech about setting up of joint ventures with states for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects.
Speaking on the occasion, Prabhu said that it is a welcome step and will go a long way in infrastructure development in the state of Odisha.
“Such joint venture companies will provide the necessary impetus for faster growth of railway network in various states including Odisha,” he said.
Prabhu explained that the Indian Railways has been playing a major role in national integration by connecting the remotest places and bringing people closer to each other. Railways receive a large number of demands for network expansion as a railway line acts as an engine of growth for the area it serves.
The Minister disclosed that Odisha got special attention since formation of the new government at the Centre.
“We enhanced the outlay for development of network in Odisha, in 2014-15 (Rs. 1073 crore.) by about 40 percent as compared to 2013-14(Rs 754 cr.). This year, it has been further enhanced to three times (Rs. 3310 crores including EBRIF of Rs. 2056 crores.). In 2014-15, 33 km new line and 32 km doubling was commissioned. In the current year, the railways has set targets for commissioning of about 150 km of network expansion projects, including 22 km new line and 128 km doubling,” he said.
The Minister said that he is sure that with all stake holders coming to participate in infrastructure creation, this mineral rich state is going to see dawn of a new era of development.