Lawyers back railway track project demand
Lawyers of four districts of Odisha — Ganjam, Kandhamal, Boudh and Sambalpur — have joined hands to strengthen the demand for the long-awaited Berhampur-Sambalpur railway track project.Representatives of lawyers’ associations of these districts met over the weekend to chalk out the future course of action to press upon the Railway Ministry to take up the project as the earliest. The meeting was convened by the Bhanjanagar Bar Association of Ganjam district.The Bharatiya Bikash Parishad, the Ganjam Chamber of Commerce, different social organisations and leaders of political parties had also at a meeting in Berhampur last week pressed upon this demand. Aska Lok Sabha MP Pramila Bisoi has supported the demand and promised to take up the matter in Parliament as well as with the Ministry.At the Bhanjanagar meeting, Ganjam lawyers alleged that the length of railway tracks in the district had not increased since 1872. Boudh Bar Association president Tarini Mohapatra said the Berhampur-Sambalpur railway track will be a major catalyst for development of the underdeveloped regions of Kandhamal and Boudh districts.No rail connectivityIn 2010-11, the Centre had given permission to the East Coast Railway to conduct a survey for the Berhampur-Sambalpur railway line. According to information received by RTI activists, although the East Coast Railway had submitted a survey report to the Ministry, it has not been registered in the ‘Pink Book’ so far. Any project can start only after it is registered in the ‘Pink Book’.According to the preliminary survey, the track will be 240 km long and connect the four Parliamentary constituencies of Berhampur, Aska, Kandhamal and Sambalpur. Ms. Bisoi has also said that her dream was to have this railway track materialise as it will pass through Aska which has no railway connectivity till date. According to the report, there will be 16 stations between Sambalpur and Berhampur as well as five tunnels and 38 big bridges.