Chief minister Naveen Patnaik termed the railway budget for 2013-14 a big disappointment’, expressing discontent over the allocation of only Rs 869 crore for Odisha against the state's demand of Rs 3,050 crore.
“This (the allocation) is grossly insufficient considering the requirement of ongoing projects in the state,” Patabik told newspersons, reacting to the railway budget.
Patnaik accused the Central government of step motherly treatment towards Odisha even though the state is giving more than Rs 14,000 crore revenue per annum to Railways.
Taking exception to the Centre for not allocating adequate trains as per Odisha’s demand, he said, “The state had demanded 31 new trains against which only six new trains have been sanctioned. Against our demand of increase in frequency of 18 trains, frequency of only one train has been increased. Similarly, against a demand of extension of 17 trains, only three trains have been approved for extension,” he said.
Patnaik objected to the proposal of linking passenger fare and freight charges with fuel adjustment component (FAC), saying it will lead to fare increase from time to time and have a cascading effect, leading to price rise of essential commodities.
“Though passenger fare has not been raised since it was recently increased in January 2013, the proposal to include supplementary charges for super fast trains, increase in reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and Tatkal charges will indirectly increase the passenger fare,” he added.
The chief minister also slammed the railway budget for being silent on the state's demand for expansion of rail network in the Naxal affected areas and also tribal areas of the state.
For previously sanctioned projects in Odisha, the Budget has allocated Rs 198.63 crore, more than three-fold jump over Rs 61 crore earmarked in 2012-13. The amount is for seven projects- Daitari-Banspani (Rs 25.35 crore), Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh (Rs 5 crore), Khurda Road-Bolangir (Rs 60 crore), Haridasput-Paradeep (Rs 72.46 crore), Angul-Duburi-Sukinda Road (Rs 5 crore), Talcher-Bimlagarh (Rs 5 crore) and Jaleswar-Digha (Rs 1 crore).
For two gauge conversion projects, Rupsa-Bangriposi and Nuapada-Gunupur, the Rail Budget has set aside Rs 1.34 crore compared to Rs 2.5 crore in the previous Budget. Doubling projects have been allocated Rs 494.5 crore, 81.82 per cent surge over Rs 272 crore in the previous Budget. The funds are meant for 20 doubling projects.