BHUBANESWAR: The state government on Friday urged the railway ministry to set up an electric locomotive periodic overhaul ( POH ) workshop in Kalahandi.
The state government’s recommendation was on the basis of the recommendation of a joint working group that was constituted to examine possibilities for an alternative industry in Kalahandi after the railway ministry scrapped its earlier plan for a wagon maintenance workshop.
The joint working group was comprised of chief secretary A P Padhi and general manager of East Coast Railway (ECoR).
In a letter to Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the committee has deliberated on various possibilities and based on the actual demand and other economic considerations of railways, it had recommended an electric locomotive POH in Kalahandi.
“The recommendation has been made mainly on account of the overall shortage of electric locomotive POH capacity over Indian Railways, large electrification works being undertaken in ECoR and also the fact that there is no such workshop anywhere in ECoR,” Naveen said.
The chief minister said feasibility study carried out by the working group found that there was an immediate need for a 60 locomotives per year capacity POH workshop.
“This would reduce the cost of having the current 344 electiric locomotives of ECoR being overhauled at far off places in eastern, south eastern and central railways. With the electrification of the entire Sambalpur division, which incidentally serves the Kalahandi district, the demand for POH can only go up,” he added.
The chief minister said the state government would provide 250 acres of land required for the project free of cost.
On April 16, the Union railway minister after a meeting with Naveen here said the railway would come up with an alternative plan for Kalahandi after it had shifted the wagon maintenance factory to Andhra Pradesh.
The Centre had announced the wagon maintenance workshop in the Kalahandi district in 2013-14. So far, the state government has offered two patches of land measuring 70.02 acres and 44.70 acre near Narla road station in Kalahandi district. It also granted complete exemption of water tax for the project as requested by the East Coast Railway (ECoR).