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Forest clearance delay affecting NH projects in Odisha: Gadkari

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Bhubaneswar: Amid Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s “don’t shed crocodile tears” remark against the Opposition parties pertaining to the issue of Brahmani bridge, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that delay in granting forest clearances by the Odisha government is affecting major NH projects in the state.

In a letter to the CM dated December 5, 2017, the Union Minister has said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has taken up a new six-lane bridge over Brahmani river near Rourkela as a part of Biramitrapur–Brahmani bypass end section project at a cost of Rs 381.75 crores.

Gadkari has also mentioned that he rejected the initial proposal for a two-lane bridge keeping in mind the future growth of traffic and socio-economic importance of this bridge.

He further said that delay in granting forest clearances by the government of Odisha has affected major NH projects of about 500 km length in the state with investment of about Rs 5000 crore.

“You may recall that in our previous meeting on 27.9.2017 in Delhi on development of National Highways in State of Odisha, I raised this issue regarding inordinate delay from the Forest Department, Govt. of Odisha in granting approvals and also delay in land acquisition, due to which major projects of about 500 km length with investment of about Rs 5000 crore were not getting started. During the meeting you assured me to resolve all pending issues at the earliest. However, four such projects still remain to be started pending approvals,” Gadkari wrote.

“I may like to clarify that all these projects are delayed for want of forest clearances and land issues,” he added.

The Union Minister has requested Patnaik to intervene in getting necessary forest clearances from the state government assuring that this project shall be started within a week of receipt of requisite approvals.

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