Highway projects: Rs 243 crore yet to be undisbursed

Even as several highway and railway projects in Odisha are lagging due to delay in land acquisition, the State government is yet to  disburse Rs 243 crore to land owners in several districts. 

Published: 29th October 2021 08:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2021 08:01 AM   |  A+A-


Representational image (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as several highway and railway projects in Odisha are lagging due to delay in land acquisition, the State government is yet to disburse Rs 243 crore to landowners in several districts. Flagging the issue, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has urged the State to expedite disbursement of the compensation for early completion of highway projects. 

Sources said 22 National Highway projects of 1,162 km are under various stages of implementation by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in Odisha. Barring only nine projects having physical progress of over 60 per cent, the rest are struggling with completion share hovering between eight and 60 per cent. Only around 50 per cent of work has been completed in some of the highway projects including four-laning of Angul-Sambalpur and Cuttack-Angul NH-55 which were taken up in March 2017 and January 2018, and scheduled to be completed in August 2019 and July 2020 respectively. 

Similarly, only 40 per cent work on six-laning of Bhadrak-Balasore section and 47 per cent on Tangi-Bhubaneswar section of NH 16 have been completed. Both the projects, started in April 2019, were to be completed in September this year.  As land acquisition hurdles delayed the road projects, the date of completion of most of the ongoing projects has been revised to 2022.  Since NHAI has recently awarded projects of 125 km along with 413 km that will be awarded in 2022 and 533 km in 2023, the MoRTH has asked the State government to expedite land acquisition for early award and start of work on ground. 

Union Secretary of Road Transport and Highways and Chairman of NHAI Giridhar Aramane has shot off a letter to Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra requesting him to resolve the land issues at the earliest. “In the ongoing projects, Rs 2,412 crore has been deposited with respective Competent Authority for Land Acquisition (CALA) out of which Rs 243 crore is still pending for disbursement to land owners,” he stated and urged the Chief Secretary to instruct CALA concerned to expedite disbursement of compensation. 

This apart, Odisha has not given its preference on the recently notified Value Capture Finance (VCF) policy for contribution by the State government to make upcoming NH projects viable. As per the new policy, states can share cost of land or part finance the cost of highway construction in order to make the project take off suitably. The State share includes waiving/refunding of royalty/taxes, sharing of stamp duty and promotion of residential/commercial real estate in the project impact zone. 


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