BJP, BJD at loggerheads over coastal highway project

Bhubaneswar: The coastal highway project has put the ruling-BJD in Odisha and the BJP at loggerheads after the State government raised objections to the existing proposals of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and suggested some modifications in the form of realignment. BJP today alleged that as BJD leaders-Maheswar Mohanty and Sanjay Das Burma – hold land which is close to the proposed project, they are raising objections for their ‘personal gains.’

BJP vice-president Samir Mohanty said “Why both the BJD leaders want a change in the alignment they should clarify. It seems that they want the project to pass close to their land so that they can make some profit from the real estate business.”

Responding to the allegations, Revenue Minister and senior BJD leader Maheswar Mohanty stated that “I had seen the map and discussed the project and not an inch of my personal land comes under it.”

“I will resign from politics if BJP leaders prove such allegations that I have some personal interests,” said Burma.

The Centre has planned two coastal highways in Odisha under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana.’ The project includes the 252 km Gopalpur- Digha stretch covering Ratanpur, Chhatrapur, Satpada, Konark, Astaranga, Nuagaon and Paradip. Similarly, the Ratanpur-Digha route will stretch through 262 kms and will pass through areas including Basudevpur, Chandanpur and Chandaneswar.

After reviewing the alignment plan at a high-level meeting at the state secretariat yesterday, Odisha had asked the NHAI to realign Puri-Satapada (50 km) and Konark-Astaranga (28 km) stretches.

Works department secretary Nalini Kanta Pradhan said “The NHAI had proposed a coastal highway on existing Satapada-Puri route but it wasn’t approved. We have asked to maintain a distance of 500 mtrs and above from the sea as per the CRZ norms.”

We suggested them (NHAI) to come up with another proposal by making realignment towards the coastline after which the approvals will be processed, Pradhan added.