ANGUL: Politics should not stand on the path of development, said Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. The Minister, who conducted ‘Bhumi Puja’ of three four-lane projects under NHAI here on Friday, said Odisha is rich but its people are poor. “The country is fast changing and we require more industries for creation of jobs,” Gadkari said, while addressing a gathering.
The three NH projects are Angul-Sambalpur(153 km), Balasore-Jharpokaria (80.6 km) and Teleibani-Sambalpur(50 km). Stating that there was 4,632 km-NH in the State earlier, Gadkari said during his three-year tenure, this stretch has increased to 7,000 km. “If the Chief Minister and the leaders of the State will demand more, Odisha will be given more NHs,” he said.Gadkari said four-laning of 112-km Cuttack-Angul NH can be completed within 14 months if land acquisition is completed. He said construction will begin from Angul as demanded by local MLA R K Singh.
Stressing on development of waterways, which, he said, is cheaper than road transport, Gadkari said his ministry is working towards developing waterways on 111 rivers in the country. Waterway projects have started on rivers like Ganga and Brahmaputra. “Brahmani is one among these rivers and a waterway will be constructed from Talcher to Paradip within six months. This will also be extended up to Rourkela to link Odisha with Jharkhand,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan exhorted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to keep politics away as far as development is concerned. Thanking Gadkari for initiating NH projects in the State, Pradhan demanded new road projects for Odisha, including the one linking Angul with Bhubaneswar directly. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said the three new NHs will go a long way in meeting the demands of the people. State Transport Minister NC Sahu, MLA RK Singh and former MP Rudra Narayan Pany were present.
Cash in media kit
ANGUL: Journalists were taken by surprise to find cash in the folders provided to them by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) at a function here on Friday. The occasion was ‘Bhumi Puja’ by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for three NH projects in the State. The press folders provided to journalists by NHAI at the event had D500 in them. Before the event began and the dignitaries arrived on the dais, the journalists were surprised to find D500 note in the press kit along with other documents. Showing the currency notes, the journalists staged protests and questioned the NHAI authorities. The officials feigned ignorance but one among them said an inquiry will be called on who placed the currency notes in the press folders and why. A similar incident had taken place in Puri in 2014 during a press meet by BJD MP Pinaki Mishra.