Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Pipli, July 9:
Announcing that the coastal road connecting Odisha with West Bengal would get National Highway (NH) status, Union Minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari today said the Center would spend Rs 5,000 crore on the improvement of this 500-km long road.
Addressing a function here to dedicate to the nation the four-laning of the 67-km long Bhubaneswar-Puri section of NH-316 ahead of Lord Jagannath’s Nabakalebar Rath Yatra, Gadkari said the detailed project report (DPR) for the new National Highway from Gopalpur to Digha would be prepared before coming December. The major portion of the new NH will pass through Odisha coast, he added.
Gadkari also declared the 40-km long New Jagannath Sadak connecting NH-5 and NH-316 as a National Highway.
Gadkari said the centre was ready to construct better roads in the mineral rich state and sought the support of the Odisha government in the endeavour.
“I assure the chief minister that the centre would take up road projects in Odisha on a priority basis to make the state developed,” Gadkari said.
Besides Gadkari, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Odisha minister Pradeep Maharathy also addressed the function attended by about 50,000 people here.
The meeting was marred by competitive slogan shouting by flag waving BJP and BJD workers. As BJD workers forced their way into the barricade, BJP workers shouted slogans and the former returned the compliment. The police had a tough time keeping the warring parties at bay. All this happened while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was giving speech and hardly anything was audible to the audience a little away from the dais as BJP and BJD workers matched lung power with each other.
In characteristic style, Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy made it worse by virtually threatening Gadkari during his speech for his name not being mentioned in the NHAI ad releases for the purpose. “Tumko Ye Future me Bahut Bhari Padega,” the irrepressible minister thundered.
Earlier, Maharathy created a flutter by wearing a BJD flag while being seated on the dais. He, however took it out after BJP workers protested.
Poiltical one-upmanship marred what was a government function.