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Plea For Highways Funds

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government has requested the Union Government to make adequate provision in Union Budget for repair, maintenance and development of National Highways in the State.

Because of inadequate allocation of funds quality of National Highways in Odisha has deteriorated substantially, which is a major concern for the State Government.

While ‘National Highway” is a Union Subject, the State Government has been entrusted with the task of improvement and maintenance of National Highways running through the state, all expenditure relating to repair, maintenance and development are provided by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

However allocation is low in this regard, which has resulted in poor conditions in major National Highways passing through the State. And development of National Highways is moving at a ‘Snail’s Pace’.

Take for example, Four-Lanning of 265 KM Sambalpur-Cuttack National Highways expansion has been continuing for more than 10 years. Because of expansion, no routine repair and maintenance work is being taken up.

For which is National Highway has turned out a ‘Death-Trap’ and resulting in frequent accidents. This Highways has become Non-Motorable during the rainy season, causing massive inconvenience to the commuters.

This Highway connects to Mining and Industrial Zones and due to bad road condition the economic activities of the area are also adversely affected, pointed out a memorandum sent to Government of India.

Similarly Coastal Highway Project, an ambitious program under Bharatmala Pariyojana with a length of 347 KM aims to provide impetus to the economic activities, socio-economic growth and to improve tourism potential in the coastal region.

The Total Project Cost is Rs.11,006 Crore and it was decided that the mega project will be taken up on ‘Priority Basis’, however it is not happening and NHAI is moving at a slow pace so far this project is concern, pointed out a senior official.

So far Economic Corridor from Paradeep to Barbail via Chandikhol, Duburi, Keonjhar, Rimuli and Bhadrasahi with a length of 300 KM is needed to be taken up on priority basis.

Entire Corridor will cost Rs.8000 Crore and this 8 Lane Super Highway will give fillip to State’s as well as National Economic Growth by giving direct connectivity to Paradeep Port and State’s key industrial and mining hubs.

Looking at these mega projects and much required repair and maintenance of the National Highways running across the state, adequate allocation may be made in Union Budget for 2023-24, requested the State Government in its Memorandum, said a senior official.