Mrunal Manmay Dash

Eight years after it was planned, the proposed NH bypass to connect Koraput railway junction with Jeypore road via Janiguda village continues to hang fire with a dispute over land valuation.

In 2016, the NHAI had notified the acquisition of 26.16 acres of private and 25.21 acres of Government land for the four-km-long bypass road.

While the design has already been approved and the land has been identified, the project still hangs in balance because the government is yet to fix the price of the land.

As per reports, Railway authorities were earlier protesting the project as the bypass was to pass through its land and its residential colony. However, the railways have already handed over the land after the intervention of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. But now there is a discontent over the pricing of land.

Though the Koraput revenue department has provided data to the NHAI on the value of the land, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH) has not agreed on the value of the land. The state government or the district administration is also not showing any urgency to resolve this issue which has led to resentment among the locals.

“The politicians never want the Koraput district and its people to develop. They do not have any intention to acquire land for the bypass,” alleged a tribal leader Madan Kirasani.

Similarly, Koraput resident, Professor Narayan Panda said, “I think more than anything, a political will is needed to resolve this dispute. A bypass is an urgent need of Koraput town. Whatever dispute is there, it should be resolved as soon as possible.”

According to the district administration, the land required for the construction of the bypass road will be acquired once the Ministry agrees to the land price.

Speaking about the project, Koraput Collector, Abdal Akhtar said, “A proposal was given to the NHAI for the bypass at Koraput. There were some issues with some other departments, but they have been solved. But the MoRTH has raised an objection to the compensation amount that we have proposed. We have sent the compliance for the same to the Ministry. We hope the Ministry will sanction the project by agreeing to our compensation amount.”

However, in the coming days, if the Bharatmala project and Biju Expressway are made operational through Koraput City, the traffic problem in the city is expected to be reduced. Meanwhile, Koraput MP Saptagiri Ulaka has assured to raise the issue in the Parliament and said he would talk to the minister.

“I will definitely raise a question in this regard in the Parliament. Three bypass roads around Koraput, Jeypore and Rayagada have been approved. But the progress of work has been very slow. I will try to resolve the issue by meeting the Union Minister soon,” said Koraput MP Saptagiri Ulaka.

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