SPB Dy Chief Raps Centre’s Coastal Highway Project New Alignment, Draws Odisha CM’s Attention

Bhubaneswar: Odisha State Planning Board (SPB) Deputy Chairman Sanjay Das Burma today expressed his immense displeasure over the new alignment made by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry in connection with the proposed 440 km long coastal highway under the Centre’s Bharatmala project initially meant for connecting Odisha’s Gopalpur with West Bengal’s Digha.

The SPB Deputy Chief has also immediately apprised Chief Minister-cum-SPB Chairman Naveen Patnaik about the matter.

As per a press communiqué released by the State I&PR Department, a high level meeting was chaired by the SPB Deputy Chairman in order to review the progress of the proposed coastal highway project that had been announced by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari at a meeting in Pipili in 2015 during Nabakalebara in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the then State Food Supplies, Technical Education and Employment Minister Sanjay Das Burma.

Gadkari had announced then that the project would be taken up very soon.

Accordingly, Odisha Government after holding several discussions on the proposed project with the Central agency had nodded for 370 km long coastal highway on November 15, 2019. It was decided that the coastal highway would begin from Satapada in Puri district via Puri-Konark-Astaranga-Ratanpur-Dhamra-Basudevpur-Chandipur to West Bengal’s Digha.

At today’s high level review meeting presided over by Das Burma at Lok Seva Bhawan here, National Highways Odisha CGM Ramprasad Panda presented a new alignment (Greenfield) of the Bharatmala project prepared by the Central Expert Appraisal Committee.

On being apprised, SPB Deputy Chairman Sanjay Das Burma expressed dissatisfaction over the Centre’s changed approach to the proposed project even after six years of the announcement made here in Odisha by Union Minister Gadkari who still continues to be at the helms of affairs.

Today’s high level review meeting was also attended by Odisha Works Secretary Krishan Kumar and other senior officials, the I&PR press communiqué said.