Saturday, June 9, 2007

Vijayawada-Ranchi road corridor gets PM's approval, Good news for KBK+ Districts

Indian Express, June o6, 2007
Road re-routed to bring Orissa’s Naxal heartland onto the map
Anubhuti VishnoiPosted online: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 at 0000 hrs Print Email

NEW DELHI, JUNE 5: A solution to the Naxalite problem in Orissa could lie down a dream road. The Prime Minister’s Office has cleared a long-standing demand of Orissa to build a two-lane, state-of-the-art road through its 12 insurgency-affected districts, bringing these tribal areas closer to the rest of the state and, it is hoped, to development.

At a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways was asked to expedite finalisation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Vijayawada-Ranchi corridor cutting through Orissa, and take it up on a priority basis. Special assistance will be given to Orissa for its state, district and rural roads running along the alignment.

Around 1,219 km of the 1,729-km corridor planned between Vijayawada and Ranchi will fall in Orissa, and the state government had requested that its state highways, district and rural roads be incorporated in the corridor. Now 235.8 km of national highway sections, 878 km of state high ways and 104.5 km of rural roads will be a part of the corridor. The road from Vijayawada enters Orissa at Motu in Malkangiri district and leaves at Tiring in Mayurbhanj district on the north.

Orissa has long sought a security corridor through the ‘red’ tribal belts. The state, in fact, wanted that the entire stretch through the state be declared a national highway, or at best be developed on a par with national highways. While the Ministry may not call the stretch NH as yet, with the Prime Minister taking a keen interest, it is set to be developed as per national highway standards.

What that means is that tribal areas of Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kandhamal, Anugul, Sambalpur, Deograh, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Boudh, currently insurgency hotbeds, may emerge out of the hinterlands.

Confirming that the project had been put on the fast track, a senior Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways official said: “The DPR of the corridor is underway and should be ready in six-seven months.”

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