BHUBANESWAR: As the stand-off between the Odisha government and Centre over the design of the proposed Coastal Highway project continues, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Tuesday proposed an alternative claiming that it will benefit the farmers by protecting the land from saline inundation.
The alternative proposal includes construction of a canal along the coast by joining the Rushikulya and Subarnarekha rivers. Such a canal can store 57 percent of rain water which is flowing into the sea besides, protecting thousands of hectares of land along the coast from saline inundation, former minister Panchanan Kanungo said.
Asking the government to seriously consider the proposal, the former minister said the canal can give rise to tourism and solve the problem of drinking water. Besides, the government can also consider the possibility of opening a water highway in the canal. It may not transport minerals and other heavy materials, but it can be useful in trade and will not affect the environment, he added.
Stating that the State government should not agree to the redesigned coastal highway proposed by the Centre, he claimed that the coastal canal project will be more economically viable and generate a large number of employment opportunities.
The proposed highway will be about 400 km from Tangi in Khurda district to Digha in Balasore. It will pass through six districts, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore-via Brahmagiri, Konark, Astarang, Paradip Port, Ratanpur, Satabhaya, Dhamra, Basudevpur, Chandipur and Chandaneswar.