Bhubaneswar: The Railway Ministry has at last fulfilled the long standing demand of the people of western Orissa for Rajdhani Express. The inaugural run of Bhubaneswar-Delhi Rajdhani Express via Angul-Sambalpur City-Jharsuguda-Rourkela was flagged off Saturday.
While Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Minister of State for Telecom (Independent Charge) & Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha flagged off the train at Bhubaneswar station, other officials joined them through video conference from Railway Board, New Delhi.
At a function organised at Bhubaneswar railway station, Culture and Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, Commerce and Transport Minister Nrushingha Charan Sahu, MP Prasanna Kumar Patsani, MP Nagendra Kumar Pradhan, MLA Bijaya Kumar Mohanty and MLA Priyadarshi Mishra addressed the gathering before the weekly express was flagged off.
Sinha, in his address, said that Rajdhani Express is the most prestigious train and running of this train via Sambalpur City, Jharsuguda and Rourkela will greatly benefit a large number of people and sought the cooperation of the state government on the issue of land acquisition so that all the pending projects are speeded up.
Addressing the gathering at Bhubaneswar station, Petroleum Minister Pradhan appreciated the highest ever fund allocation in the budget for the infrastructural development of railways and improvement of passenger amenities in Orissa. The running of this train via Sambalpur City, Jharsuguda has fulfilled the long standing demand of the people of Western Orissa, added Pradhan.
Talking to Orissa POST, MP Prasanna Patsani said the state government is providing all types of cooperation in the process of land acquisition. Now, with the budget allocation being made to this section, the process would gather speed.
Worth mentioning, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had requested Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to run Rajdhani Express via western Orissa following which Goyal had decided on it September 27 last year.
As per schedule, the Rajdhani Express (No 20817) will leave Bhubaneswar at 7.10am every Saturday and reach Delhi at 10.40 am Sunday. In the return direction, it (No 20818) will leave Delhi at 5.05pm every Sunday and reach Bhubaneswar 8.35pm Monday, a source in ECoR said adding it will reach Sambalpur at 11.58am and leave the station after two minutes.
The source also informed that the weekly train will have stoppages at Cuttack, Angul, Sambalpur City, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Chakradharpur, Anara, NSCB Gomoh, Koderma, Gaya, Dindayal Upadhyaya (Mughalsarai) and Kanpur Central stations between Bhubaneswar and New Delhi in both directions. While the duration of stoppage at Rourkela station is 25 minutes, it will halt only for 2 minutes at all the other stations.
However, the guests present at the function at Bhubaneswar station observed that the train should also have had a stoppage at Dhenkanal. “We hope the weekly train would be converted into a regular one and we will demand for a stoppage at Dhenkanal,” said Commerce and Transport Minister Nrushingha Charan Sahu.
AGM, East Coast Railway, Rajeev Sharma, welcomed the dignitaries while ADRM, East Coat Railway, Khurda Road Division, SP Dwivedi proposed a vote of thanks. All the senior railway officers from Khurda Road Division and headquarters were also present on the occasion. PNN