Bhubaneswar: The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, Thursday shot off a letter to the union railway minister Piyush Goyal demanding  introduction of a new Rajdhani Express train to the state via Sambalpur instead of diverting the existing one through the same route.

“I urge upon you to consider the genuine needs of the people and introduce a new Rajdhani Express train via Sambalpur with stoppages at Dhenkanal and Angul stations,” Patnaik wrote to Goyal.

Stating that he was expecting introduction of a new Rajdhani Express via Samalpur, the chief minister has stated,  “It is disappointing to note that instead of giving Odisha a new train, ECoR is planning to divert an existing Rajdhani Express and run the same via Sambalpur, once a week, starting form 10.02.2018.  As this will reduce the service of Rajdhani for the existing route, I would request that this decision may be reviewed and a new Rajdhani Express train may be given to Odisha, thereby restoring the frequency of the diverted train,” Patnaik wrote in the letter.

The Rajdhani Express, which is to run via Sambalpur, has been notified by the ECoR and the notified route has evoked strong resentment among the people as its stoppages have not been properly planned, he has stated pointing out that while the existing Rajdhani Express passes through Bhadrak and Balasore and stops at the two stations, the Rajdhani Express via Sambalpur will not be stopping at Dhenkanal and Angul.”This defeats the very purpose and objective of seeking a Rajdhani train to run via Sambalpur as it does not cater to the needs of the people of these parts of the state,” Patnaik said.

Patnaik has said that even though Odisha gives the highest revenue to the Indian Railways, it has been a neglected area for the railways since long.