Government: Redesign Coastal Highway

Slug-fest between BJP and BJD over the proposed 451-km Gopalpur-Digha coastal highway project, the state government on Wednesday.

BHUBANESWAR: Amid political slug-fest between BJP and BJD over the proposed 451-km Gopalpur-Digha Coastal Highway project, the state government on Wednesday once again suggested change in the alignment (design of the road) plan of the project prepared by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Odisha government: Redesign coastal highway

Odisha government: Redesign coastal highway

After reviewing the alignment plan at a high-level meeting here at the state secretariat, the state government asked the NHAI to realign certain stretches like Puri-Satapada (50 km) and Konark-Astaranga (28 km).

The Odisha government asked the NHAI to develop the road on seafront (close to sea) which will result in boosting tourism potential. It had made similar requests to the NHAI in April last year.

“We suggested the NHAI authorities that instead of constructing the highway on the existing road, they should realign the plan on Puri-Satapada stretch and develop it 500 metre off the coast following which the state government will give its approval,” said state works secretary Nalini Kanta Pradhan.

As the NHAI plans to develop the Konark-Astaranga stretch 10-km off the coast, the state government asked it to make it close to the sea. The state has also asked NHAI to develop two signature bridges inside the Chilika lake without hampering the marine habitat.

The NHAI authorities did not comment on the issue after the meeting with state government officials.

The road is to be constructed under the Bhratmala Pariyojana of the central government at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 crore. It will provide connectivity to 178 villages in Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore.

The issue has furthered fueled political tug of war between the BJD and BJP as Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan criticized chief minister Naveen Patnaik of hindering the project intentionally. Pradhan also criticized the state works secretary accusing him of getting busy in political works.

It took months for the state government to review the alignment plan and give suggestions for modification plan. They should accept publicly if they are not interested on the project, the Union told reporters in New Delhi.

Hitting back at Pradhan at a news conference here, BJD leader Sanjay Das Burma said the Centres Coastal Highway plan is a betrayal for Odisha.

The Union minister (referring to Pradhan) is more concerned about doing politics over it instead of trying for the project. The allegations leveled by the BJP leaders over the project are baseless. People of Odisha would give a befitting reply to the BJP for this false promise, said Das Burma.


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