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Odisha Asks For Economic Corridor

Bhubaneswar: For smooth transportation of minerals from Keonjhar to the port town Paradeep, the State Government has urged Centre for development of an economic corridor from Paradeep to Bhadrasahi-Barbil.

Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra has raised this demand before Secretary, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Giridhar Aramane during a meeting held last evening.   

Mr.Mahapatra highlighted the need for development of an economic corridor and advised that National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) should go ahead for land acquisition to have 100 metre ROW along this road for all future use including provision of assorted utilities.

He also assured that the State Government would provide all support for land acquisition for the ROW. It was decided in principle that NHAI and the State would jointly develop the ROW.        

Presenting the updates about NH projects in Odisha, Additional Director General of NHAI, Dharmananda Sarangi said that 38 NHs running over 5753 km passed through 30 districts of the state. Out of this, 19 roads of 2920 km length are being managed by NHAI, and other 19 roads of 2833 km maintained by the state works department.

Out of the total length of 5753 km of NH, 243 km were developed to 6-lane; 1486 km were developed to 4-lane, 1934 km were developed to 2-lane with paved shoulder, 1257 km were developed to 2-lane, and around 834 km were developed to single or intermediate lane. Besides, 20 other projects worth Rs15015 crore for improvement of around 901 km of road were taken up by the NHAI.

Similarly, 31 projects estimated at Rs 3088 crore for improvement of 1146 km of road were taken up by the Works department.

Works Secretary Dr Krishan Kumar said that the work in Panikoili-Rimuli section of NH-20 was fastened. One side of Belabahali bridge was opened to traffic from the first week of January, 2022. The Chief Secretary directed to complete the project in all respects by June of current year.

Similarly, the development of the Rimuli-Koida section of NH made substantial progress. It was targeted to start commercial operation on this road by March, 2022, he informed.

The Singhara-Binjabahal section of NH-49 also made significant progress. Provisional commercial operation certificate against this road was issued January 19 and in the meanwhile tolling operations also started. 

Dr Kumar also highlighted the industrial and commercial potentials of the proposed Paradeep- Barbil economic corridor including importance of the road for evacuation of ever increasing quantum of minerals.

The issues relating to disbursement of the compensation awards against land acquisition, forest diversion, compensatory afforestation, construction of animal underpass (AUP), elephant underpass (EUP), and vehicle underpass (VUP), payment of user fee by State carriage buses, wild life clearances about certain patches of some roads, handing over the physical possession of land to the NHAI etc were discussed and resolved in the meeting.   

The Union Secretary applauded the Odisha Model of National Highway (NH) improvement. “Odisha model for NH improvement is very good. All officers from the level of Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary to DFO and executing engineers are well conversant with alignment of the roads, progress of each project, and ground level issues that need to be tackled,” he said.

Such an approach helped expeditious grounding and implementation of the projects, he added.

The Chief Secretary fixed timelines for different phases of the work against each project. The DFOs and collectors were also directed to resolve the issues proactively, and provide all possible support for completion of the projects within the scheduled timeline.