ROURKELA: The mega coal corridor project of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) between Bankibahal and Bhedabal in Sundargarh district continues to be delayed. The road project is yet to see much progress after its preliminary survey in 2011.Funded by MCL and after cost revision to about `430 crore, the Public Works Department (PWD) was entrusted in June 2017 to execute the project on deposit basis.
The project envisages a two-lane road stretch for exclusive use for the villagers of Bankibahal, Barpali and Duduka, sources said. Another two-lane stretch of 31 km from Bankibahal to Bhedabahal would be exclusively used for coal transport. The coal corridor from Kalobahal to Bhedabhal would pass through non-habitat areas. After completion of the project, no coal-carrying heavy vehicle would ply on Kalobahal-Sundargarh road saving the villagers from dust and noise pollution besides accidents.
Incidentally, the coal corridor project assumes significance as it will simultaneously augment coal transportation by road and rail in the wake of the MCL’s future plan to produce and transport 100 Million Tonne Per Annum coal from Basundhara-Garjanbahal area in Sundargarh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in September 2018 dedicated the newly laid Sardega-Jharsuguda railway line of MCL built at a cost of `1,044 crore by South Eastern Railway for bulk transportation of coal. During an election rally at Kirei in Sundargarh on April 6, Modi had blamed the BJD Government for delaying the coal corridor project.
Former Sundargarh MLA and BJD candidate from Sundargarh Assembly constituency Jogesh Singh said the coal corridor project, starting from Hemgir block, would pass through Lefripara, Tangarpali and Sadar blocks and connect State Highway 10 at Bhedabahal. He said tender has been floated for a bridge portion, while processes are underway for land acquisition and obtaining necessary forest clearances to start road work.
Jogesh said survey work is also underway. On the PM’s remark on the project getting delayed, he said it was made for electoral gains. He said the MCL had delayed the cost revision of the project after implementation of GST. The BJD Government is working sincerely towards timely completion of the project, he added.
Another four-lane project, executed by the PWD from Duduka to Kanika railway siding of MCL, is nearing completion, Jogesh said.