ROURKELA/ANGUL: The Centre today announced plans to pump in Rs 40,000 crore to develop Paradip as a smart port and smart city and Rs 1.5 lakh crore to expand highways for speedy development of Odisha with robust infrastructure.
The announcements were made by Union minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari, who laid foundation stones for a number of projects including the long-awaited second bridge on Brahmani river at Rourkela and four laning of three national highways in Angul.
He also inaugurated a 2-lane road with paved shoulder from Kanaktora to Jharsuguda section including Belpahar.
"The Centre is committed to speedy development of Odisha. While road network is being expanded in the state, Paradip will be made a smart port and smart city with an investment of Rs 40,000 crore," Gadkari said.
Stating that Odisha is going to witness a series of high profile investments in infrastructure, the minister said initially Rs 2,700 crore is being provided for the ambitious project in Paradip.
An additional amount of Rs 2,000 crore will be spent to increase the depth of Paradip port to enable it to handle 1,440 lakh tonnes of cargo in a year, he said adding, the port will be in a position to handle a variety of vessels and cargo.
Plans are afoot to construct a railway line between Paradip and the coal town of Talcher at an investment of Rs 9,000 crore, Gadkari said.
The coal production capacity of Talcher coal belt will also be raised to 300 million tonnes, he said.
Apart from these, around Rs one lakh crore is being invested in Paradip region for different petroleum and petro-chemical projects, the minister said.
An LPG terminal will also come up at Paradip, he said adding, fishermen are allowed to go up to 11 nautical miles for fishing and now this limit has been enhanced to 50 nautical miles, which will encourage fishing and boost investment in processing of sea food products.
Referring to the road sector, Gadkari said the Centre plans to invest around Rs 1.5 lakh crore for expansion of highways and roads in Odisha in the near future The Centre has already spent over Rs 7,000 crore for construction of new highways and expansion of road network in Odisha during the last three years and raised the highway length from 4,632 km to 6,993 km, he said.
Gadkari said construction of NHs in the country has taken a giant leap to 26 km per day in the last three years from 2 km per day during the UPA rule, he said.
The union minister said the new bridge over Brahmani river, being constructed at a cost of around Rs 550 crore, will be completed in two years and will be part of a six-lane national highway from Rajamunda to Biramitrapur.
Gadkari, while laying foundation stone for the 126 km NH-143 between Biramitrapur and Barkot, said construction work on the project will begin within 15 days and will be completed within two years.
Regretting delay in launching the bridge and road project, he said it was because of problems related to land acquisition and environment and forest clearances.
He said tender process for the second phase from Rourkela to Rajamunda road is already over.
Gadkari was accompanied by union ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan. Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray was also present at the steel city.