BHUBANESWAR:The Sambalpur-Rourkela section of Biju Expressway, inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday, is expected to open an economic corridor for the western and southern regions of Odisha.The 162 km-long stretch of the State Highway-10 has been built at an estimated Rs 1292.56 crore.
However, it is the expressway, measured at 650 km, which is aimed at creating the economic corridor for Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts.The State Government is hopeful that it would not only boost trade and commerce but also help agriculture and social sector development bringing in a wave of development in the region.
Interestingly, even as the Opposition claims that the CM inaugurated the road stretch whose implementation was completed long back, it is a project which was part of the election manifesto of the Biju Janata Dal Government when it started its fourth tenure in 2014.Of the series of projects announced to deliver the Minimum Guarantee Programme, infrastructure was a major one. Of it, the Biju Expressway linking Rourkela to Jagdalpur is of socio-political significance for the Government.
Once the project is over, the travel time from Rourkela to Jagdalpur would take six hours, down from 13 hours at present.The thrust for road connectivity has also seen the Government launching Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana under which 3000 villages, with a population of 100, would be covered.Last month, the Government announced 29 roads estimated at Rs 350 crore in tribal-dominated and Maoist-affected Koraput and Malkangiri districts.