ROURKELA: Work on the much-delayed expansion of NH-143 from Birmitrapur to Barkote and construction of second six-lane Brahmani bridge at Rourkela would begin in the next 15 days, announced Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Laying foundation stone at Rourkela for the first phase of NH 143 expansion from Birmitrapur to Rourkela, Gadkari also informed that tenders for the second phase of NH-143 work from Rourkela to Rajamunda section and third phase for Rajamunda to Barkote section have been floated and work would start in a month.
Gadkari claimed that the entire work of about 125 km NH 143 stretch from Brimitrapur to Barkote, including the second Brahmani bridge and other bridges would be completed in two years and about `2,500 crore will be invested. Claiming that the previous Congress-led UPA government had delayed the project, Gadkari said without the mandatory land, forest and environmental clearances work was awarded to Gammon Infrastructure in 2011 on BOT mode and it left the project in 2014.
On the project delay after announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015, Gadkari said considering the huge volume of traffic on NH-143, he ensured replacement of the proposed two-lane Brahmani bridge with two bridges of three-lane, replacing the two-lane proposal from Rajamunda to Barkote section with four-lane and obtaining mandatory clearances. Gadkari said under the NDA regime, work culture has changed with the NHAI completing an average of 23 km per day against the previous 2 km.
Gadkari said under him, the NH networks in Odisha have increased to about 6,900 km from 4,632 km. About `7,000 crore worth of works has started and in the next two years, the State would get about `1.5 lakh crore in road infrastructure development.
Paradip to be made smart port
Gadkari said the NDA Government has earmarked D40,000 crore for development of Paradip as smart port and smart city and works worth D20,000 crore have already started. “I will approve whatever development proposals the State Government sends. I do not believe in mixing politics with development,” he said. Union Tribal Affairs Minister and Sundargarh MP Jual Oram, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik, Odisha unit BJP president Basant Panda, Rourkela and Jharsuguda BJP MLAs Dilip Ray and Radharani Panda respectively and RN Pali MLA Subrat Tarai (BJD) were present.