BJD apathy behind coastal highway project delay: BJP

After the meeting, Padhi told reporters that the project will be given a final shape after finalisation of the alignment,  Mohapatra said.

Published: 11th November 2018 09:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th November 2018 09:55 AM   |  A+A-

Image of a highway used for representational purpose only

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: With the BJD blaming the Centre for delay in execution of coastal highway project, the BJP on Saturday asked the State Government to explain why it is not granting statutory clearances to the 19 packages of the project.

Countering BJD allegations that the infrastructure project is not making headway due to the indifferent attitude of the Centre, State BJP  leader Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said repeated changes in the draft alignment is the primary reason behind delay.

“The alignment of the ambitious coastal highway project from Gopalpur in Odisha to Digha in West Bengal could not be finalised due to interference by two senior BJD leaders from Puri district, former minister Sanjay Das Burma and Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty,” Mohapatra said.

Das Burma and Mohanty had several rounds of discussions with officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) which had to change the alignment of the road from Satpada to Puri several times in 2017.

The issue was again discussed at a high-level meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in April this year. The State Government then requested NHAI authority for changes in alignment at nine places. The meeting discussed alignment of roads on Puri- Konark marine drive, near the proposed port at Astaranga, Jambu forest area, Bhitarkanika reserve forest, Satapada and bridge over Chilika lake.

After the meeting, Padhi told reporters that the project will be given a final shape after finalisation of the alignment,  Mohapatra said.

Though the project required clearance from the Coastal Regulatory Zone Management Authority for 9 packages, from Forest department for 8 packages and wildlife authority for two packages, the State Government is yet to grant such clearances.

Claiming that the Centre has finalised tender for 10 packages, Mohapatra said the 415 km coastal highway project estimated to cost about `7,500 core is awaiting State Government clearance. Besides, the State has not initiated process for land acquisition for the project. While `6,000 crore have been earmarked for construction, `1,500 crore is kept for land acquisition.


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