1st Passenger Train on Khordha-Balangir Rail Route flagged off
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first-ever passenger train on the incomplete 289-km Khordha-Balangir rail route near Begunia. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Law Minister Arun Sahoo, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patasani were present at the occasion.
The 32-km stretch between Khordha and Begunia was recently completed. It marked the beginning of the rail route that would link coastal Odisha to the Western region of the state. The Khordha-Balangir project started 22 years ago, but only 32-km stretch has been completed so far. Work on the 112-km stretch from Begunia to Daspalla is currently going on. The Railway department has fixed a target to complete the route within 6 years.
The state government will sign a MoU with the Railways on July 20 in this regard. The Odisha Government will provide Rs 1,355 crore for the project, while the centre would provide Rs 1,000 crore.
The inauguration ceremony was dominated by Rajya Sabh MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra’s presence. Pyari and Naveen shared the dais first time since the May 29, 2012 coup. However, they did not talk or greet each other. Pyari arrived late, but stole the limelight. Among others, Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Charan Parida was also present at the occasion.