Koraput Congress MP Saptagiri Ulaka has written to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal urging him to extend the Lokmanya Tilak Express train till Rayagada.
Citing reasons, Ulaka mentioned that the train after reaching Visakhapatnam from Mumbai at 11.10 am remains idle for around 12 hours before moving back to Mumbai at 11.30 pm.
“The distance between Rayagada and Visakhapatnam is around 185 km and the Lokamanya Tilak can cover it in three hours. If the train will leave Visakhapatnam at 11.15 am, it will reach Rayagada at 2.15 pm. If this train leaves Rayagada at 8.30 pm after a six-hour rest, it can reach Visakhapatnam before the schedule time,” the MP argued.
He further noted that the extension would be very helpful as there is no direct train from Rayagada/Kalahandi/Koraput to Hyderabad or Mumbai. He also added that the Rayagada railway station can accommodate the services of one more train as Rayagada has been declared as a railway division.
“If properly managed, the Lokamanya Tilak express can also connect the passengers from Junagarh Express (18438) which reaches Rayagada at 7.55 pm and Jagdalpur-Rourkela Express (18107) coming from Koraput and reaching Rayagada at 9 pm,” wrote Ulaka.
Besides, the extension is also required as an industrial belt exists and a few projects in the office on the route.
“There are a number of industries like Nalco at Damanjodi, HAL at Sunabeda, UAIL at Tikiri, JK Papers at Rayagada and Vedanta at Lanjigarh. Proposed projects of the Birla Group and the L&T are also in the pipeline. Direct railway connectivity is required with these major cities. Extension of this train can be commercially viable without additional expenses,” Ulaka argued further.