Bhubaneswar: Former Union Minister Srikant Jena Thursday demanded the Odisha government to immediately set up a ‘Rail Corporation’ and take control of the movements of freight.
Jena said the proposed corporation would fetch a minimum profit of Rs 10,000 crore per annum and create job opportunities for many Odia youths. Out of the 20 lakh railway employees, the number of Odia youths in Indian Railways is very insignificant, he said.
The former Union Minister said, though the Union government was collecting revenue of Rs 20,000 crore per annum from Odisha, the money is being utilised for the development of railways in other states and to provide jobs to youths of other states.
He regretted that though Odisha will provide more revenue to the central government there are no jobs for Odia youths in the Railways. He further alleged that the revenue collected from Odisha is being utilized to lay new railway lines, metro lines and to develop better passenger facilities in other places.
The railways, he said is setting up medical colleges and big sports complexes in other states but not in Odisha. He demanded the Railways to set up medical colleges in Rayagada and Keonjhar.
The budgetary allocation made for the development of railway infrastructure in Odisha is very less in comparison to the revenue generated from the state.
Jena said in the current budget the Union government had allocated only Rs 5,600 crore for development of railways in the state which is not enough to complete the old railway projects launched 23 years ago.
He said actually the allocation was only Rs 3,000 crore as Rs 2,000 crore was returned being unspent which is happening every year.
Since the establishment of East Coast Railway, Odisha has been giving Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 crore revenue every year to the central government. But in return the state is not getting even one-fourth of the revenue it gives to the centre, he remarked.