Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan accuses Odisha govt of delaying Coastal Highway Project

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New Delhi: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan accuses Odisha government of delaying the completion of the ambitious Digha-Gopalpur Coastal Highway in Odisha.

“It is the height of hypocrisy by CM Odisha Sh. Naveen Patnaik he writes a letter to PM demanding special category status for Odisha on one hand and on the other hand he is deliberately derailing infrastructure development projects in the state. The Digha Gopalpur Coastal highway project is being developed at a cost of Rs. 9000 Cr. under GOIs Bharatmala Pariyojana. The grandest infrastructure project ever undertaken in Odisha, the 450 KM highway will create unprecedented avenues for development in the state,” said Minister Pradhan to media in a press meet.

NHAI had appointed consultants for DPR preparation in February 2016 and a project proposal for the Coastal Highway was presented before Addl. Chief Secretary & Development Commissioner, Govt. of Odisha and other concerned officials on 03.09.2016.

In the meeting State officials appreciated the proposal & agreed in principle. Over next 2 years a number of modifications in alignment of the Coastal Highway were incorporated based on a consultative process with State Govt. officials such as with Chief Secy. of Odisha on 7/4/18

“After acceding to numerous piecemeal suggestions by Govt. of Odisha officials, GoI approved the revised alignment of the project in July 2018 in hope of cooperation from the State for expeditious commencement of the project. 15 Competent Land Acquisition Authorities (CALA) were appointed & 3 CALAs have completed land verification process. The NHAI on behalf of GoI has been soliciting necessary forest & CRZ clearances from the State Govt. with persistence to begin tendering & fast-tracking the project. However, Govt. of Odisha has not been forthcoming in extending these clearances & has demanded another presentation of the alignment. Over the past few months, NHAI’s repeated pleas seeking dates for revised presentation are yet to be entertained by the State Govt. It is lamentably clear from these facts that the State Government has chosen petty politics over development and is a matter of great sorrow that my fellow Odia Naveen Patnaik babu has brushed aside such an unprecedented gamechanger for Odisha in pursuit of power,” said Minister Pradhan.

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