- By Rabi Raj
Keonjhar: Keonjhar district, renowned for being a significant source of revenue for the railways through crucial mineral transportation, has been consistently neglected and treated with a step motherly attitude from both East Coast Railways and South Eastern Railways. This allegations have been made by former minister and Ghasipura legislator Badri Narayan Patra.
Despite the district’s substantial contribution of nearly Rs10, 000 crores in revenue through mineral transportation, there has been a persistent lack of attention to its railway infrastructure expansion. Patra has repeatedly appealed for the connection of Anandapur, Champua, and Matariini’s holy shrines to the broader rail network, but these pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Patra’s call for a direct rail link from Keonjhar to the national capital, New Delhi, and the request for specialized support for the region’s rail infrastructure have not materialized, adding to the despondency among the district’s residents.
Among Patra’s specific demands is the doubling and electrification of the Jakhapura-Bansapani-Jamshedpur rail line. Additionally, he advocates for connecting Badampahad with Keonjhar through the rail network, proposing it as an alternate route to New Delhi.
Highlighting the importance of rail connectivity to Anandapur, Patra emphasizes the need for the essential Harichandanpur-Anandapur-Bhadarak rail line. This connection, if established, would seamlessly integrate with the Dhamara Port, contributing significantly to the economic development of the region.
The longstanding proposal for the commencement of the Kendujhar-Badabil-Tatanagar Express has gained momentum, with Patra underscoring its crucial role in daily commutes between Kendujhar and Tata Nagar, thereby enhancing the economic vitality of the region. However, despite the growing demand, the initiation of this express service remains a distant prospect.
Furthermore, Patra urges the extension of the Kolkata-Badbil Janasatabdi Express till Keonjhar, expressing the hope that one day, the rhythmic sound of railway operations will echo in the district as the people eagerly await the central government’s attention to their long-standing concerns.