Odisha coastal highway Package 3 gets green clearance

Package 3 from Kakatpur to Erasama was facing stiff opposition from the locals due to the revised alignment.
Image used for representational purposes only. (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purposes only. (Express Illustrations)

BHUBANESWAR: Days after the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) cancelled tenders for three segments of the ambitious coastal highway reportedly over alignment issues, package 3 of the project, which was the bone of contention, has got the recommendation for environmental clearance paving the chances for revival of the project.

The 346-km coastal highway project, divided into two parts - 176-km Rameshwar (near Tangi) to Ratanpur and 170-km Ratanpur to Digha, was proposed to be constructed in several packages. While the NHAI had invited bids for the construction of the four-lane coastal road between Rameshwar and Ratanpur in three packages after its alignment was changed for the third time, the tenders were cancelled abruptly before the end of the deadline on August 10.

Package 3 from Kakatpur to Erasama was facing stiff opposition from the locals due to the revised alignment. Sources said the highway alignment has been revised again and recommended for environmental clearance. The DPR will be prepared after it gets the green signal.

Chief general manager of Odisha Circle Veerendra Singh admitted that the revised alignment for package 3 has been recommended for environmental clearance. “This would definitely revive the coastal highway project. The NHAI will proceed once the environmental clearance and other statutory clearances are obtained,” he told The New Indian Express. Announced in 2015 by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, the proposed highway will pass through seven coastal districts in the state and facilitate communication to the ports besides easing the traffic on NH-16 and providing a much-needed boost to tourism.

Initially, the Rs 8,000 crore highway was proposed to be constructed from Gopalpur to Digha through ecologically sensitive Chilika, Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhitarkanika Sanctuary and some of the important Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites. Its length was reduced from 451 km to 346 km (Rameshwar to Digha) as per the revised alignment, skipping the eco-sensitive areas.

On July 29 last year, the tenders were floated for the 47-km stretch package-1 from Rameshwar to Puri at a cost of Rs 1,436.39 crore, 44.6 km package-2 from Puri to Kakatpur at a cost of Rs 1,297.6 crore and 42.6 km package-4 from Erasama to Ratanpur at a cost of Rs 1,341.9 crore, which were cancelled later pushing the project into uncertainty.

The recent reply of Gadkari in the Parliament that the coastal highway project - Rameshwar (near Tangi) to Ratanpur and Ratanpur to Digha has not been sanctioned yet had created confusion leading to a slugfest between the BJD and the BJP.

Project progress

The 346-km project, divided into two parts was proposed to be constructed in several packages
Package 3 from Kakatpur to Erasama was facing stiff opposition from locals due to the revised alignment
Initially, the Rs 8,000 crore highway was proposed to be constructed from Gopalpur to Digha

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com