BHUBANESWAR: Of the 559 km Biju Expressway, launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in August, the State Government will construct only 258 km, while the rest will be laid by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The State Government had launched Rs 3,200 crore economic corridor between Jagdalpur and Rourkela in August, as promised during the last elections. Out of the 656 km corridor, 559 km will be in Odisha and the rest in Chhattisgarh.
The State Government has admitted to a query through the RTI that the four-laning of 160 km road from Rourkela to Sambalpur has already been started under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Besides, the four-laning of the Expressway from Sambalpur to Sohela via Bargarh of 74 km will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
According to the reply furnished by State Government, the two-lane road between Sohela and Nuapada via Padampur of 119 km will be executed by the State Government under the State Highway Development Programme (SHDP). The four-laning of this part of the project will be implemented in the second phase after land acquisition.
Construction of two-lane road from Nuapada to Bhella will be taken up by the Ministry. The 139 km road from Bhella to Ambapani via Godabhanj, Dharamgarh and Sinapalli will be laid under SHDP. However, two-laning of 42 km long Expressway from Ambapani to Chandli via Borrigumma will be executed by the Ministry.
The project aims at connecting Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh with the four KBK districts of Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The Expressway will also connect many border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Borrigumma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapalli, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Rourkela.
In the first phase, 254 km road will be converted to four-lane and 402 km to two-lane. In the second phase, 258 km will be made four-lane. The total project outlay is Rs 3,200 crore, out of which Odisha will contribute a minimum amount.
While the first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017, the second phase will be over by 2019-end.