Dharmendra Pradhan in war of words with Pratap Jena over Odisha coastal highway

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan blamed the State Government of not co-operating with the Central Government over construction of Gopalpur-Digha coastal highway in a press conference here on Tuesday. Meanwhile, State Health & Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena reiterated with saying that Pradhan is a habitual liar in yet another press conference today.

Pradhan accused the State of unnecessarily delaying the extremely beneficial project so that BJD could have political benefit over Central Government. He added that the Naveen Patnaik led Government is not providing the NHAI with necessary Forest and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) authorities have been asking to schedule discussions with State, but to no avail.

In retaliation, Jena has labeled Pradhan as an incorrigible liar. He said that from proposal to actual approval of the Coastal Highway Project took two and half years of time. Many villagers will become homeless if the new highway is constructed over the old road. And hence it will be better if the highway is moved more towards the coast; which the Modi-led Government is not agreeing to.

Odisha Coastal Highway Project

Odisha is set to have 415 kms of coastal highway with an investment of about Rs 7500 core. Rs 6000 crore have been earmarked for construction, while a sum of Rs 1500 crore is kept aside for land acquisition. NHAI has already finalized the alignment of these projects last year.

Coastal Highway of Orissa

The highways will be in two separate sections. The first will be 252 km long Gopalpur-Ratanpur stretch via Chatrapur-Satapada-Konark-Astrang-Naugaon–Paradip-Ratanpur. The second will be over 162 km long Ratanpur-Digha stretch via Basudevpur-Chandipur-Chandaneswar.

The coastal highway will go through the Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Kendrapada, Baleshwar, Bhadrak, and Khurda districts. This will connect Gopalpur, Dhamra and Paradip ports. The highway will most definitely bring a boost for Odisha’s tourism sector. It will also resolve traffic congestion issues locally.

The highway, as of now, is set to be built around 20-40 kms away from coastline. And this is what the BJP-led Central Government and BJD-led State Government have not been able to agree on.

Also Read: Jogesh Singh Resigns From Odisha Assembly

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