Ramesh clears all road proposals for Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to silence the ruling BJD which dubbed him as "anti-Odisha", Union Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh sanctioned Rs 1467 crore towards road construction in the state, official sources said today.

"I believe there are no proposals from Odisha pending with us," Ramesh said in a letter to chief minister Naveen Patnaik and also hoped that the state would be able to submit more road work proposals by next month.

Ramesh, who as union minister of state for environment and forest had rejected Rs 5,000 crore mining plan of Vedanta, was dubbed as "anti-Odisha" by BJD. Even the issue was raised in assembly with BJD MLAs shouting anti-Ramesh slogans. During subsequent visits, Ramesh had repeatedly claimed that he was not an enemy of Odisha, but a friend. "I am pained over being dubbed as anti-Odisha," Ramesh had told a meeting last year in presence of the chief minister.

With his new ministry clearing all road work proposals of the state, Ramesh said Centre had sanctioned 602 road works for 2498 km worth Rs 994 crore under PMGSY in 15 IAP (integrated action plan) districts of the state. Ramesh also pointed out that his ministry had cleared proposals of 284 road works for 1052 km worth Rs 473 crore for the 15 other non-IAP districts. As Centre had sanctioned all the proposals, Ramesh said: "We are expecting the state to submit proposals worth around Rs 1200 core for 15 IAP districts by the end of December."

"When this is also sanctioned soon thereafter, I would have fulfilled the commitments I made regarding Odisha when we had met in Bhubaneswar on August 14," Ramesh told the chief minister. Odisha`s rural development minister Bikram K Arukh said the state government would certainly submit more proposals to Centre for road works. "For 15 IAP districts, 3959 roads of 16905.62 km had been sanctioned. At least 2659 roads covering 11005.27 km had been completed," he said.