A report from Indian Express
ROURKELA: Seeking better railway infrastructure in Orissa with focal point being the mining and industrial district of Sundargarh, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today gave a knee-jerk reply to the Indian Railways by disrupting movement of all goods trains at Rourkela. However, the South Eastern Railway (SER) heaved a sigh of relief after buying time for two months to soothe the frayed tempers.
Sources said the Rourkela unit of the BJD intensified its week-long sit-ins by paralysing movement of good trains and blocking all four lines. Normalcy was restored in the evening after the additional divisional railway manager from Chakradharpur Division of SER committed in writing to immediately sort out issues under the SER control. The main demand of the BJD is carving out a new division at Rourkela under the East Coast Railway (ECoR). The BJD leaders AC Mohanty and Shailendra Marothia threatened to revert to agitation if the promises are not redeemed.
Other demands include immediate laying of BimlagarhTalcher rail link, setting up of a wagon/wheel factory at Bondamunda, introduction of direct train services to New Delhi, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kanyakumari, Allahabad, Bangalore and Guwahati, running of trains to Berhampur in Orissa and a DMU/EMU train between mining regions of Kiruburu and Birmitrapur to benefit the neglected tribal population in the Maoist-hit belts. In addition, development of Panposh station here as 'heritage station', setting up of multiplexes at Rourkela, Bondamunda and Panposh were also sought.
Kolkata-based SER chief spokesperson Soumitra Mojumdar said formation of new division is a 'policy' issue to be taken at the higherlevel. Things under the jurisdiction of SER zone would be taken care of.
Incidentally, the BJD has decided to go it alone even as a host of apolitical organisations under the banner of the Railway Passengers' Steering Committee along with the Rourkela Development Forum and Rourkela Railfanning Association pressing for similar demands.