Bhawanipatana: People in the district are unsure of the fate of the much-awaited Narla electrical locomotive factory, a Rs 186-crore project. There is no headway for the project till date.
Due to the initiatives of former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das, the UPA government had announced a rail wagon factory here. However, locals noted that they are not sure if the project is going to happen.
Later, the project was pushed under the carpet thanks to apathy of the state government and the Centre. It was later reported that the project was shifted to Visakhapatnam.
As the NDA government had to face the criticism, it announced to set up an electric engine locomotive workshop. The stage government had agreed to provide free land for the project.
It was learnt that though railways has been repeatedly asking the state government for 250 acres of land at Narla, the later has not been able to provide it. Locals alleged that as the project is getting delayed, it may be shifted elsewhere.
Additional secretary of the Railway Board, VK Agrawal said a patch of land has been identified for the project, but that is not sufficient. In his letter to the state government, Agrawal said 250 acres are necessary for the project and its future expansion.
Following a request from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, former railway minister Suresh Prabhu had made a provision of Rs 1 crore for the project in 2017-18 rail budget. As things got delayed, the fund returned to the Centre.
Rs 27 lakh was allocated for the project in 2018-19 while in 2029-20, the Centre allocated Rs 1 crore. The project is estimated to cost Rs 186 crore.
It was learnt that the administration identified 70 acres of land at Chapakhanda, 36 acres at Ragadimal and 8 acres at Bhatangi for project.
But the railway found the land insufficient and unsuitable for the project. It wanted 245 acres near Narla railway station. The land should be within 5 to 6 km distance from the station.
The workshop requires 185 acres while 80 acres are needed for residential quarters. However, the state government has allegedly laid no importance to the request of the railway board.