Home Tourism New Puri-Konark Railway Line: Connecting Odisha’s Tourist Gems

New Puri-Konark Railway Line: Connecting Odisha’s Tourist Gems

by Nita Mishra

The proposed Puri-Konark railway line is set to connect two major tourist spots in Odisha. This new line will bypass the Balukhand sanctuary and the eco-sensitive zone.

Prime Minister’s Approval

Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved this 32-km long railway line back in February.

Alignment and Details

According to the final alignment and project report submitted to the Railway Board, the new line will be constructed far from the coastal regulation zone (CRZ). Importantly, it will not disturb the wildlife sanctuary or the reserve forest.

Construction Details

A railway official mentioned that the alignment underwent several changes before the final plan was decided. The single railway line will be built outside the sanctuary, beyond its eco-sensitive zone, mostly on government land. The goal is to finish construction within two years of starting the work.

Stations and Bridges

The new railway line, estimated at Rs 492 crore, will have three stations: Poratara, Bhinguradhia, and Konark. It will include 27 minor bridges, eight major bridges, two road over bridges, and 21 road under bridges. This line will cross the Nuanai, Dhanua, and Kushabhadra rivers.

Land Acquisition

To make this project possible, 215.91 hectares of land will be acquired at a cost of Rs 42.72 crore.

Benefits and Impact

Once operational, this railway line will boost spiritual, heritage, and coastal tourism, which will in turn benefit the region’s economy. It will directly connect the Sun Temple at Konark with the Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri.

Previous Challenges

The project faced hurdles in the past. Lawyer Satyaprakash Behuria, who sought information through RTI, explained that objections from the Forest and Environment Ministry led to the shelving of the project in 2017. The previous alignment had the railway line passing through a reserve forest, wildlife sanctuary, and falling within the CRZ prohibited area.

Tourist Facilities

The Railway Board plans to set up four to five tourist hubs with recreation facilities along the new line. Additionally, they will introduce Vistadome-like train services. These trains will feature 180-degree rotatable reclining seats, an observation lounge, and WiFi. The goal is to ensure that tourists can fully enjoy the scenic beauty of the area during their journey.

Promotion of Jagannath Culture

Inside the train, augmented reality and virtual reality technology will promote Jagannath culture, enhancing the overall experience for passengers.

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