Affirming the Centre’s resolve to expand connectivity in Odisha, he said education, coupled with connectivity, would lead to speedy development and overall progress of all sections of the society.
“I am happy to unveil projects worth Rs 1,550 crore in areas like education, connectivity, tourism and culture,” PM Modi said while inaugurating and laying foundation stone for a series of projects, mainly in the railway sector, at a function here.
During his third visit to Odisha in as many weeks, the prime minister dedicated to the nation the electrification of Jharsuguda-Vizianagaram and Sambalpur-Angul railway lines spanning 813 km, which have been completed at a cost of Rs 1,085 crore.
The project aims to ensure seamless rail connectivity on the line and reduce journey time. It will also reduce diesel consumption and greenhouse gas emission, a senior railway official said.
Modi also inaugurated the doubling of 14.2 km Barpali-Dungaripali and 17.3 km Balangir-Deogaon rail lines, completed at a cost of Rs 189.3 crore. They are part of the 181.54 km Sambalpur-Titlagarh doubling project.
Describing connectivity as a catalyst for progress, Modi said it would boost trade, commerce and tourism, besides helping farmers in taking their produce to the mandis.
Strong connectivity would also propel industrialisation, which in turn would create enormous opportunities for employment generation, he said.
A Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) at Jharsuguda, built at a cost of Rs 100 crore, was dedicated to the nation by the prime minister.
Spread over 28.3 acres, the MMLP is adjacent to the Howrah-Mumbai main line, 5 km from Jharsuguda Railway station.
Several industries, such as cement, paper, aluminium, refractory, pig iron, sponge iron and steel pipe, located in and around the area would benefit from the facility, Modi said.
He also inaugurated the 15-km-long Balangir-Bichhupali railway line laid at a cost of Rs 115 crore. It is part of the new 289-km Balangir-Khurda Road line which connects to Howrah-Chennai main line on Khurda roadside and Titlagarh-Sambalpur line at Balangir.
The line would connect coastal Odisha with western region through Sonepur, Boudh, Puranakatak, Daspalla and Nayagarh, synchronising development across the state.
The line would also benefit many micro, small and medium enterprises and cottage industries, and generate opportunities for the mining sector.
The prime minister flagged off a new train on Balangir-Bichhupali route which would benefit commuters of the region, besides connecting Bichhupali to Jharsuguda and Vizianagaram main line through Balangir.
A bridge between Theruvali and Singapur Road station, constructed at a cost of Rs 27.4 crore, was inaugurated on the occasion. The bridge reestablishes the linkage over Nagavali river, which was washed away during floods in July 2017.
These apart, Modi inaugurated renovation and restoration works at Nilamadhav & Siddheswar Temple at Gandhaharadi in Boudh, Paschim Somnath group of temples, also in Boudh, and Ranipur Jharial group of monuments in Balangir, an official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said.
He inaugurated six Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) at Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Phulbani, Bargarh and Balangir through video conferencing.
The PSKs would immensely benefit the people as they would no longer require to travel all the way to Bhubaneswar for getting passports issued, Modi said.
The prime minister laid the foundation stone for a permanent building of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sonepur, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 15.81 crore and also inaugurated a Kendriya Vidyalaya at Rayagada.
He said the Centre has been taking concrete steps for spreading the Kendriya Vidyalaya network in Odisha and the new schools would play a significant role in human resource development in the state.
Modi’s visit to the western Odisha town on Tuesday assumes significance in light of the upcoming Assembly and general elections.
He toured Bhubaneswar and Khurda on December 24 and launched Rs 14,523 crore worth of projects for Odisha, while on his visit to Baripada on January 5 he unveiled programmes worth Rs 4,733 crore.