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Longest canal of state to double up as a road

Kendrapara: The longest canal system of the state, the Taladanda canal, which is in existence since the time of the British Raj, will soon double up as a road linking Cuttack with Paradip. The banks of the Taladanda canal will be turned into a two-way road to serve as an alternative to the existing highway linking the two important towns.

Official sources said the road, once complete, would facilitate faster travel to Paradip where an ambitious Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region(PCPIR) was being set up. The 85-km-long Taladanda canal apart from being a waterway also meets drinking water and irrigation needs of the agrarian belts in coastal Odisha.

The sources said as Paradip and its adjoining areas were being perceived as a major investment region once the multi-crore petro-chemical project got underway, emphasis was being laid on an alternative road, the existing road being not upto the mark.

The ambitious Rs 2.74-lakh-crore petro-chemical project, which has already received approval by the Central government, will come up over an expanse of 284.15 km along coastal Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts. The work will be completed in two phases under a PPP (public-private-partnership) model.

The Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation(IDCO) would be the nodal agency while Indian Oil Corporation Limited will play an anchor role for the development of the PCPIR.

As per the Memorandum of Agreement(MOU) signed with the Centre for setting up the PCPIR, the state government is shouldering the responsibility for facilitating a road network to the port town. The existing road connectivity to Paradip is inadequate to bear the enormous load of vehicular traffic from the PCPIR.

Presently National Highway-5 A and the State Highway-12 connects Paradip port with the rest of the state. Two major road projects-Bhubaneswar-Paradip Greenfield Corridor and Coastal Astarang-Paradip-Dhamra Corridor also stays on the government`s to-do list to boost road connectivity to the bustling industrial hub.

While the twin projects are on the pipeline, the existing state highway is now undergoing a four-lane expansion mode. Official sources said that a high level meeting held recently to explore the road expansion plan in the state zeroed in on the canal embankments as a feasible alternative road project which runs close to the state highway. Besides strengthening the canal embankments, the project would not have to encounter any land aquisition hurdle, Surajit Das, Additional District Magistrate of Paradip, said.

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