Three months after the Ministry of Railways and Odisha Goverment met to iron out the issues that have been delaying the Haridaspur-Paradip and Angul-Sukinda railway link projects, the problems linger.
Construction works for the two projects have not gathered speed despite an agreement in the meeting that Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL), the executing agency, will transfer responsibility to the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) formed to implement the two projects.Since RVNL is a stakeholder, its status as the executing agency was pointed as a conflict of interest at the meeting between Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in September last.
Subsequently, Managing Director of RVNL, Satish Agnihotri wrote a letter to Haridaspur-Paradip Railway Company (HPRC) Ltd and Angul-Sukinda Railway (ASR) Ltd asking them to take over construction work.However, the transfer of construction works from RVNL to SPVs has not gone anywhere since detailed guidelines are yet to be laid down while an official go ahead from the Ministry of Railway is still awaited. In such an event, the two projects are in a limbo of sorts.
Though RVNL advised the two SPVs to take over the construction process, neither HPRC Ltd nor ASR Ltd have the resources and wherewithal to take the massive work forward. With deadlines approaching and banks breathing down their neck, the SPVs have a target to meet.
Apart from RVNL, the two projects have several companies like Paradip Port Trust, Bhusan Steel and mining companies as stakeholders of the SPVs but their functioning has been marred by infighting which had also come up for discussion at the high-level meeting between the Railways Minister and Odisha Chief Minister in September.Delay in land acquisition, law and order problems, obstruction by locals and extortion by local mafia have hindered progress of the two projects.