PATNA: The next railway budget is likely to clear the mist of doubt over several ambitious projects of the railways in Bihar. Most of these projects sanctioned during former railway minister Lalu Prasad’s tenure could not be taken up for want of adequate funds or land availability.
These projects include Diesel Locomotive Factory at Marhaura (Rs 2,025 crore), Electric Locomotive Factory at Madhepura (Rs 1,400 crore), DEMU Maintenance Depot at Sonepur (Rs 15 crore), Goods Wagon Repair Workshop at Sonepur (Rs 92crore) and Wagon Repair Workshop at Samastipur (Rs 33 crore).
That apart , work on three mega bridges at Digha (Patna), Munger and Nirmali in north Bihar has been going on at tardy pace for one reason or another. However, the railways has made satisfactory progress at the Wheel Factory at Chhapra and Coach Maintenance Workshop, Harnaut, in Nalanda district. These two major projects would be completed this year bringing Bihar on the map of the Indian Railways as a hub of railway network.
According to a former technical expert of the railways, G N Sahay, though the cash-strapped railways would find it difficult to complete these projects in about two to three years, Railway Board chairman Vivek Sahai s recent announcement that at least two locomotive projects in Bihar would be completed on public-private partnership (PPP basis must be appreciated. But the moot question is what would be the fate of these projects if none (private companies) turns up for PPP mode in Bihar, Sahay said.
Any further delay in execution of the railway projects in Bihar would upset the railway network in Bihar which has already been conceptualized as the ancillary zone of the Indian Railways, sources said, adding the railway ministry cannot ignore Bihar this time keeping in mind the fact that CM Nitish Kumar is keen to develop railway network in the state on priority basis. Besides, Nitish himself links railway development as part of the state s development, admitted an East Central Railway ( ECR) official.
The ECR, which has already submitted budget proposal to the Board, is hopeful of getting new trains like Patna-Tiruvanthapuram (Trivandrum ), a Duronto between Patna and New Delhi and Garib Raths between Patna and Bangalore, Sitamarhi and New Delhi and Darbhanga and Jammu Tavi, sources said.
The ECR has also proposed to increase frequency of several pairs of mail and express trains, including Patna-Ahmedabad , Darbhanga-Bangalore , Patna-Ajmer, Patna-Secunderabad and extension of Patna -Mathura up to Kota, sources said.
Source: The Times of India