Widening of NH-126 in Maoist hit area to start soon

Koraput: The much-awaited Rs 277 crore widening work of the 86-km road on NH-326 between Boipariguda in Koraput district and Malkangiri town in Odisha will start soon.

The state government entered into an agreement for the project with a Hyderabad-based company on September 14. The project will be completed in the next two years, officials said today.

“The deadline for completing the project is 24 calendar months. Land has been acquired for the project and the construction company has started mobilising resources for it. The actual work will start soon,” said junior engineer, NH division, Jeypore, Prabhakar Sethi.

“The road that is 3.5 metre wide at present will be doubled,” he added.

The road, which was earlier identified as state highway-25 and is part of Ranchi-Vijayawada corridor, passes through 12 Maoist-hit districts of the state.

The Centre declared it NH-326 recently. As many as 1,521 roadside trees will be felled for the road widening work. “We have taken utmost care to ensure that minimum green cover is lost for it. Only trees which obstruct the widening work will be felled,” Sethi said.

Once the road is completed it will provide better road communication facility to the Maoist-hit Malkangiri district, situated 650 km from Bhubaneswar.

“The present road between Boipariguda and Malkangiri is in a bad condition and it takes around four to five hours to reach Malkangiri in public transport. If the project is completed in scheduled time then it will be a boon for residents of the red-hit district and also help in development of the area,” said former Nabarangpur MP Pradeep Majhi.

Also, police are hopeful that the project will go a long way in curbing Maoist menace in the district as movement of security personnel will become easier.

“The road will facilitate quick movement of forces. We face a lot of problems in shifting our men during these emergencies due to bad roads,” said a senior police officer posted in Malkangiri.