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Coastal Highway Delay Likely

Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited Coastal Highway from Tangi to Digha is likely to be delayed further as the Land Acquisition Committee of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is yet to give its nod for the proposed alignment from Ratanpur to Digha section of the highway. 

The Union Government has approved the Coastal Highway projects under Bharatmala Pariyojana.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change had approved the alignment for the Coastal Highway from Rameshwar (near Tangi on NH-6)–Brahmagiri-Puri-Konark-Astarang-Naugaon-Paradip Port –Ratanpur-Dhamara-Digha. The State Government had also approved the route on August 7, 2021.

According to official sources, the terms of reference (TOR) for the Tangi to Ratanpur section (117.119 km) and Ratanpur to Digha (excluding Dhamara to Basudevpur) section 170.7 km of the Coastal Highway was approved on November 10 and December 15 in 2020, respectively.  

The Land Acquisition Committee of the NHAI has approved the proposed alignment from Tangi to Ratanpur. The NHAI is taking steps for land acquisition, forest clearance and other clearances required for the highway.

With the help of Odisha Government, the DPR Consultant is doing the work. Land acquisition for the Coastal Highway from Rameshwar (near Tangi on NH-6) –Ratanpur has been started and is presently in 3D stage after completing 3A stage, the sources said.

However, the panel is yet to give its nod for the second section of the project from Ratanpur to Digha, they said. 

The approximate cost of land acquisition for the project is about Rs 817 crore.

Notably, In April 2015, Union Minister Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari  announced the Coastal Highway project to boost tourism and communication to ports of Odisha. After that the project was delayed due to a political slugfest between the BJD and the BJP. Later, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change refused to accord approval to the earlier alignment of the highway due to green norms.

Originally, it was between Gopalpur and Digha. Now, the Coastal Highway will start from Tangi in Khurda district to Digha.