JEYPORE: A proposal from National Highway Division of Works Department seeks to construct a tunnel in Jeypore ghat that could reduce the distance between Koraput and Jeypore towns by four kilometres.
Currently, the district headquarters town is connected to Jeypore, Koraput’s biggest commercial hub, by a 6.5 km ghat road. Similarly, NH 26 from Raipur to Visakhapatnam too runs through the Jeypore ghat hills.
The present road was constructed more than 40 years back and till date, the stretch is narrow and accident prone with at least 10 dangerous curves. Every day, over 3,000 vehicles run through the Jeypore-Koraput ghat section which takes up to 30 minutes to pass the dangerous stretch.
To overcome the problem, the NH Jeypore Division has presented a proposal for the tunnel which was submitted to the State government. Once affected, it would be presented to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. A tentative expenditure of Rs 600 crore to build the 2.5 km tunnel for linking Jeypore to Koraput town has been indicated, sources said.
If the plan gets approval, the distance between Jeypore and Koraput could be shortened by about four kilometers which now stands at 21 km. Distance apart, the tunnel could address the road accident problems as well as hazards of driving through the stretch. Since the road runs through the peak of Jeypore ghat, it often causes accidents. Besides, it presents immense problem for movement of heavy vehicles to pass through the steep road causing traffic jam for hours.
Since ghat road is lifeline for this section of the KBK region, locals, as well as public representatives, have long been demanding its expansion. However, it could not be taken up as the expansion would require felling of large number of trees.
“The tunnel system, first of its kind in Odisha, will reduce time and distance for the commuters who face immense hardship during the travel,” said K Kandhpani, Executive Engineer of Jeypore NH division. It will also help in the future as number of vehicles in the region is slated to increase. Besides, volume of vehicular movement to the southern region will jump as development takes an upswing.
“Besides, road accidents will drop since the tunnel system will be a six lane one”, informed Kandhpani.
The NH Division has sought Rs 5 crore for preparing the feasibility study and DPR and is waiting approval of the project by the government.