MoRTH Praises Odisha National Road Development Model

Bhubaneshwar: The Odisha model of National Highway (NH) improvement was applauded by the Secretary of Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India Giridhar Aramane during a joint review meeting of NH projects.

The meeting held last night at Lokseba Bhawan was chaired by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra.

Aramane said: “Odisha’s model for NH improvement is very good. All officers at DFO Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary level and working engineers are well versed in road alignment, the progress of each project and the field issues that need to be resolved”.

He added that such an approach helped speed up the set-up and implementation of projects.

He advised NHAI officers in the field to be in regular contact with collectors and divisional forestry officers for prompt resolution of issues as they arise during the implementation process.

The state of progress of the various NH projects was reviewed during the meeting.

Considering the different contours of the problems at ground level, Chief Secretary Mahapatra has set deadlines for the different phases of the work against each project.

DFOs and collectors have also been tasked with proactively resolving issues and providing all possible support for the timely completion of projects.

Furthermore, Mahapatra highlighted the need to develop an economic corridor from Paradeep to Bhadrasahi-Barbil.

He advised NHAI to go ahead with land acquisition in order to have 100 meters of right-of-way along this road for any future use including provision of various utilities.

Mahapatra also assured that the state government would provide all necessary support for land acquisition for the right of way.

It was decided in principle that NHAI and the State would jointly develop the right-of-way.

Presenting the updates on the NH projects in Odisha, NHAI Additional Managing Director Dharmananda Sadangi said that 38 number of NH running 5753 km passed through 30 districts in the state. Of this total, 19 roads with a length of 2920 km were managed by NHAI, and the other 19 roads of 2833 km were maintained by the State Department of Public Works.

A review showed that of the total length of 5753 km of NH, about 243 km were developed to 6 lanes; 1486 km were laid out in 4 lanes, 1934 km were laid out in 2 lanes with paved shoulder, 1257 km were laid out in 2 lanes and approximately 834 km were laid out in single or intermediate lane.

In addition, 20 projects worth Rs 15,015 crore for the improvement of about 901 km of road have been taken over by NHAI.

Similarly, 31 projects valued at around Rs 3,088 crore for the improvement of around 1,146 km of road have been taken over by the works department of the state government.

Works Secretary Krishan Kumar assessed the progress of the various NH roads being developed by the state.

He said work in the Panikoili-Rimuli section of the NH-20 had been accelerated. One side of the Belabahali Bridge was opened to traffic from 1st week of January 2022.

The chief secretary has ordered to complete the project in all respects by June of the current year.

Similarly, the development of the Rimuli-Koida section of the NH-520 has made substantial progress. It was planned to start commercial operation on this route by March 2022.

Likewise, the Singhara-Binjabahal section of the NH-49 has also made significant progress. An interim commercial operating certificate against this road was issued on January 19, 2022, and in the meantime tolling operations have also started.

Kumar also highlighted the industrial and commercial potentials of the proposed Paradeep-Barbil economic corridor, including the importance of the road for the evacuation of the ever increasing amount of minerals.

Issues relating to the disbursement of compensation for land acquisition, forest diversion, compensatory reforestation, construction of animal crossings (AUP), elephant crossings (EUP) and vehicle crossings (VUP), payment of state user fees Transport buses, clearance of wildlife from certain parcels of certain roads, handing over of physical possession of land to NHAI, etc. were discussed and resolved at the meeting.

NHAI Member Mahavir Singh, Additional Chief Secretary for Revenue and Disaster Management Satyabrata Sahu, Works Secretary Krishan Kumar, Transport Commissioner Arun Bothra, NHAI Chief General Manager Ram Prasad Panda as well as senior officials from NHAI, state and central government participated in the discussions.

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