Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday launched a slew of highway and port projects worth Rs 6,000 crore in Odisha and said another Rs 2.5 lakh crore would be pumped in to boost the infrastructure here but the state must cooperate by expediting land acquisition process.
The Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Minister laid foundation for three national highway projects worth Rs 2,345 crore at Kamakhyanagar in Dhenkanal district of Odisha. These projects include four-laning of the Talcher-Kamakhyanagar section of NH 200/23, Kamakhyanagar-Duburi section of NH 200 and Duburi-Chandikhole section of NH 200, the officials said.
He also inaugurated a port project worth Rs 431 crore and laid foundation for six others worth Rs 3,206 crore in total at a function at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.
Stating that the length of national highways in Odisha has more than doubled in the last four years from 4,632 km in 2014 to 9,426 km in 2018, Mr Gadkari said the Centre is now spending nearly Rs 1 lakh crore on laying national highways in the state.
He said the Centre is strengthening the transport system in the state in all sectors -- national highways, waterways and seaways -- to enable Odisha realise its full potential as a mineral rich state.
He added investments worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore was going to be made in the near future to further strengthen the state''s transportation sector.
Speaking on infrastructure projects like coastal highway, second bridge over Brahmani river at Rourkela among others which are stuck due to issues like land acquisition, forest and environment clearances, the union minister said the Odisha government should cooperate in addressing these issues.
The union minister said NH projects worth more than Rs 6,000 crore have been completed in Odisha. Some of these include four-laning of Sambalpur-Bargarh, Panikoili-Remuili and Bhubaneswar-Puri NH, six-laning of Bhubaneswar-Chandikhol NH, construction of four lane national highway upto Jharsuguda town, construction and strengthening of bridges on NH 57 and NH 59 and some other highways.
Several other projects worth more than Rs 4,500 crore are scheduled for completion this year, he said, adding about 1,645 km of NH worth Rs 30,000 crore are envisaged under Bharatmala, including 93 km of ring roads around major towns, and their detailed project reports are being prepared, he said.
Mr Gadkari announced that a 262 km-long waterway, combining Mahanadi and Brahmani rivers, will be developed from Kalinganagar to Dhamra via Paradip at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore.
This waterway is expected to carry around 200 lakh tonne of cargo every year and is touted to be a game-changer for the state. It will boost coal, iron, steel and other industries in Odisha and create huge employment opportunities for the local population, officials said.
Speaking on the port-led industrialisation, the union minister said 34 projects worth Rs 20,000 crore have been identified for Odisha under Sagarmala.
The capacity and efficiency of Paradip Port is rising continuously and it will make the state prosper, the union minister said.
Among the projects launched by Mr Gadkari in Paradip port was a multipurpose berth developed for handling clean cargo for diversifying its freight profile. Its capacity is 5 Million Metric Tonne Per Annum (MMTPA) and the estimated cost is Rs 430.78 crore, officials said.
A dust suppression system completed at a cost of Rs 17.5 crore was also launched in the mechanised coal handling plant at the port.
Foundation stone was laid for several projects, including mechanisation of berths to enhance their capacity to 30 MMTPA, which will enable cargo handling of thermal coal exports in an eco-friendly manner through closed conveyor system at a cost of Rs 1,437.76 crore, officials said.
Moreover, a new coal berth will be developed for handling coal imports at Paradip Port on build-operate-transfer basis at an estimated cost of Rs 655.56 crore.
A project worth Rs 66.4 crore will be taken up for transfer of thermal coal received through BOXN wagons from iron ore handling plant to mechanised coal handling plant stockyard, Gadkari said.
The other projects at the port are installation of container scanner at a project cost of Rs 40 crore and a second exit from PPT including flyover to reduce traffic inside city area and provide improved connectivity at a cost of Rs 94 crore.
A multi-modal logistics park being developed at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore spread across 100 acres was also launched at Paradip, officials said.