Koraput: In its bid to improve existing road network in Maoist-hit areas, Odisha government has started work for converting the single-lane state highway from Laxmipur in Koraput district till the border of Andhra Pradesh to double lane under its SH development project.
However, one year into the launch of the project, only 20 per cent work of the 48-km road has been completed, raising doubt over its timely completion. The project, which was started in October 2014, had been taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 96.50 crore and the due date of completion is April 2016.
Officials said the road construction work under the State Highway Development Project is being done according to the specifications for national highways. Its width is being increased from 3.66 metres to seven metres.
N C Dora, Superintending Engineer of the Public Works Department (Jeypore circle), said the initial pace of work was slow as the ghat had to be cut. “Now, as the ghat-cutting work is complete, the work will pick up speed. We hope to complete it within the stipulated time,” he said.
The road, which starts from Laxmipur, passes through the worst Maoist-hit places in the district, including Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon and Almonda, before connecting with Parvitipuram in Andhra Pradesh, officials said.
Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon blocks are surrounded with steep mountains and thick forests, allowing for a good cover for Maoists in the area, they said.
The new road could go a long way in curbing the Red menace in the region, they said. Security forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations will also be able to travel easily through the area once the road is completed, said a senior official.