Union Minister Nitin Gadkari unveiled a raft of highway and port projects worth $6 trillion in Odisha on Wednesday.
The Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources broke ground on three national highway projects worth R2,345 crore at Kamakhyanagar in Dhenkanal district of Odisha. Those projects include the four-lane widening of the Talcher-Kamakhyanagar section of the NH 200/23, the Kamakhyanagar-Duburi section of the NH 200 and the Duburi-Chandikhole section of the NH 200, officials said.
He also opened a port project worth 431 crore rand and laid the foundation stone for six others totaling 3,206 crore rand at an event at the Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.
Mr Gadkari explained that the length of national roads in Odisha has more than doubled in the past four years from 4,632 km in 2014 to 9,426 km in 2018 and said the center is now spending almost Rs 100,000 million on laying national roads spends in the state.
He said the center is strengthening the state’s transportation system in all sectors – national roads, waterways and seaways – so that Odisha can realize its full potential as a mineral-rich state.
He added that investments worth R2,500 million would be made in the near future to further strengthen the state’s transport sector.
The union minister spoke about infrastructure projects like the coast road, the second bridge over the Brahmani River in Rourkela and others that are stuck due to problems like land acquisition, forest and environmental deforestation, and said the Odisha government should work together to solve these problems .
The unions minister said more than R6,000 crore worth of NH projects had been completed in Odisha. Some of these include the Sambalpur-Bargarh, Panikoili-Remuili and Bhubaneswar-Puri NH four-lane route, the Bhubaneswar-Chandikhol NH six-lane route, the construction of a four-lane national road up to the town of Jharsuguda, and the construction and strengthening of bridges on NH 57 and NH 59 and some other highways.
Several other projects worth more than R4,500 crore are due to be completed this year, he said. In addition, about 1,645 km of NH worth R 30,000 crore are planned under Bharatmala, including 93 km of ring roads around major cities, and their detailed project reports are being prepared, he said.
Mr Gadkari announced that a 262km waterway linking the Mahanadi and Brahmani rivers would be upgraded from Kalinganagar to Dhamra via Paradip at a cost of 5,000 crore rand.
This waterway is expected to carry about 200,000 tons of cargo each year and is credited with pioneering the state. It will boost coal, iron and steel and other industries in Odisha and create huge job opportunities for local people, officials said.
Referring to the port-driven industrialization, the union minister said that 34 projects worth R20,000 crore have been identified for Odisha under Sagarmala.
The capacity and efficiency of the Paradip port is steadily increasing and will bring prosperity to the state, the union minister said.
Projects launched by Mr. Gadkari at the Port of Paradip included a multipurpose berth designed to handle clean cargo in order to diversify the cargo profile. Its capacity is 5 million tonnes per year (MMTPA) and the estimated cost is 430.78 crore rand, officials said.
A dust suppression system was also put into operation at the port’s mechanized coal handling facility, costing R17.5 million.
Foundations have been laid for several projects, including mechanization of berths to increase their capacity to 30 MMTPA, which will enable green cargo handling of thermal coal exports via a closed-loop conveyor system at a cost of R1,437.76 crore, officials said.
In addition, a new coal berth is being developed to handle coal imports at the Port of Paradip on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis at an estimated cost of R 655.56 crore.
According to Gadkari, a project worth R66.4 crore is being tackled for the transportation of thermal coal, which will be delivered via BOXN wagons from the iron ore handling facility to the yard of the mechanized coal handling facility.
The other projects at the port include the installation of a container scanner at a project cost of R 40 crore and a second exit from PPT including flyover to reduce traffic within the urban area and provide improved connectivity at a cost of R 94 crore.
Officials said a multimodal logistics park was also opened in Paradip at an estimated cost of R200 crore, covering an area of 100 acres.