Bhubaneswar: Here is some good news for commuters in Odisha. The Centre has given the Forest clearance for the Khurda Road–Balangir railway line project following the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Minister of Environment & Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Bhupender Yadav.
Forest clearance has been given for the 68 km railway section of the ongoing rail line project between Dasapalla and Purunakatak. Precisely speaking, clearance has been given for the stretch from 112 km to 180 km of the project in Odisha. The project will connect Balangir, Subarnapur, Phulbani, Boudh, Nayagarh and Khurda districts and will connect with another rail link between the western and coastal Odisha, a senior Railways official stated.
Taking to his personal Twitter handle, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw wrote, “Thanks to the PM @narendramodi Ji and @byadavbjp Ji for giving forest permission for the remaining 68 km section on Khurda Road-Bolangir new line. All tenders are being issued and will be finalised soon.”
The project was sanctioned in FY 1994-95 but was being delayed owing to several issues like court cases and Forest clearance and others. However the work on the project was on the fast track since FY 2014-15 and till now, 115 Km of the 301 km stretch of rail line has already been commissioned (90 km from Khurda Road to Nuagaon and 25 km from Balangir to Jharatarabha).
Nuagaon-Daspalla from Khurda Road end and Jharatarabha-Khambeswarpali from Balangir end were earlier targeted for commissioning in this financial year. The slow progress of the project was due to a delay in handing over of required land and Forest clearance. Forest clearance and working permission were pending for 1,469 acres of forest land in between Dasapalla and Purunakatak.