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NHAI identifies 1,500 km of road projects to boost coastal connectivity

NEW DELHI: The National Highways building authority will soon approve 1,500 kilometres of highway projects in the coastal regions of the country to improve coastal connectivity.

“We are now moving forward on four-laning of roads in the coastal region, around 1,500 kms of projects have been identified,” a senior government official told ET.

The exercise has been fast tracked after a push from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the official said.

In his Independence Day speech on Saturday, PM said that the government would focus on improving infrastructure connectivity in the coastal regions.

“Along with this, our coastline has a very important significance in the world trade. While moving on with Port led development, in the coming days, we will focus on working towards building a modern state-of-art infrastructure towards the construction of four lane road across the entire coastline,” Modi had said.


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Among other projects, connectivity between Chennai and Kanyakumari will be focussed on, with around 400 km of roads identified in the eastern state of Odisha, the official added.
 

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Digha-Gopalpur (coastal) highway to boost Odisha’s infrastructure, economy: Dharmendra Pradhan

BHUBANESWAR: Claiming that Odisha is one of the prime beneficiaries of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s infrastructure and connectivity push, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said the 451-km long Digha-Gopalpur coastal highway will be a game-changer in transforming the fortunes of the State.

“Improved infrastructure development and connectivity are central to PM @narendramodi’s vision for #AatmaNirbharBharat. The National Infrastructure pipeline will not only revolutionise infrastructure creation but also pull India out of the economic impact of #Covid19,” he wrote.He further said Digha-Gopalpur coastal highway will also act as an economic corridor for the transport of agricultural and pisciculture produce to Paradip and Dhamra port and also play an important role in movement of supplies during natural disasters such as cyclones and floods.

The State Government had given its approval to the Rs 7,500 crore coastal highway project that will link Gopalpur in Odisha and Digha in West Bengal.

The project was cleared after the Government agreed to the original alignment of Satpada-Digha stretch via Puri-Konark-Astarang-Ratanpur-Dhamara-Basudevpur-Chandipur. In the first phase, the 240 kms stretch from Gopalpur to Ratanpur will be constructed at an estimated cost of `2,196 crore. Maintaining the ecological and environmental sanctity of the region, Pradhan said the coastal area will also emerge as one of India’s prime tourist attractions.
 

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Coastal highway (Gopalpur-Digha) length will be 382km with changing alignment: Gadkari

BHUBANESWAR: Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari on Monday told Rajya Sabha that the Gopalpur-Digha coastal highway will be 382 km instead of the earlier proposed 430-km. He has agreed that alignment of the coastal highway is modified.

Replying to Rajya Sabha member Sujeet Kumar, the Union minister said, “As per requirement of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), the alignment of 430km long Gopalpur-Digha coastal highway in the state of Odisha has been modified to 382km. Accordingly, detailed project report (DPR) along the modified alignment has been taken up.”

A recent report of the Centre showed that the route of coastal highway under the Bharatmala project is changed. This story was reported by TOI on January 29. Originally, it was between Gopalpur in Ganjam district and Digha in West Bengal (around 430km), but now the highway will start from Tangi in Khurda district and end at Digha, shortened by around 50 km from the original plan.

Sources said two EACs formed by MoEFCC have suggested the new alignment keeping the Chilika ecosystem and other wildlife issues in mind. The first EAC report was based on the stretch between Tangi to Ratanpur and the second report was based on the stretch between Ratanpur to Digha. The reports were presented in two meetings (246th and 247th) held in October and November last year.

The EAC report stated that the existing proposal is passing through 11 rivers. Also, pillars will be constructed into riverbed. The project implementing agency should avoid construction of pillars in the riverbeds including the Devi River and the Mahanadi River, it added.

The report said the proposed alignment is passing through Balukhanda Konark Wildlife Sanctuary and some of the important Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites. A large number of trees (17,278) are proposed to be cut and a total 21.42 ha of forest land to be diverted for the proposed Gopalpur-Digha coastal highway project.

The committee suggested project road starts from NH-16 near Tangi, the new highway 316-A starts with NH-316 near Konark connecting Ratanpur, Satabhaya, Dhamra, Basudevpur, Talapada, Chandipur, Chandaneswar in Balasore district and terminating at Digha.

The total project will be executed in two parts. First stretch will be constructed between Tangi and Ratanpur (168.6km) with an estimated cost of Rs 2765.8 crore. The second part starting from Ratanpur to Digha will have an existing highway of over 42km between Dhamra to Basudevpur in Bhadrak district along with the 170.7km stretch till Digha with an estimated cost of Rs 2230.5 crore.

The EAC report stated that the new alignment will save 9,442 trees and would not pass through any wildlife sanctuary in the new project road between Tangi and Ratanpur. No land will be acquired from any forest or sensitive zones in this route.
 
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