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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Kendrapara: The Gopalpur-Digha proposed coastal highway has the potential to become the lifeline of Odisha, said Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday.

Pradhan was speaking at a programme organised at the Circuit House here in Kendrapara after visiting Bhitarakanika sanctuary which reopened today after nine days of hiatus for crocodile census.

During the occasion, the Union Minister said that the much hyped coastal highway has a budget of Rs 10K Crore, which will be borne by both the Centre and State. It will aid in bringing development to the coastal areas, particularly to Kendrapara.

Pradhan also felicitated COVID warriors who were vaccinated in the first stage of the drive during the event.

"The Haridaspur-Paradip railway line is going to be operational soon, facilitating both passenger and freight services on the track," he said.

Besides, an MoU is soon going to be signed with the Paradip Port Authorities to develop a river based port in the area, informed Pradhan.

On his visit to the sanctuary, Pradhan said, "It was a pleasant experience for me to explore the nature here at Bhitarkanika. This place has immense possibilities. We have to strike a balance between environment and tourism while developing the area."

"This is a fragile ecosystem. We cannot destroy the habitat of so many wild animals and endangered flora in the name of development. So, a planned development is necessary, which we are already working on," he added.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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