Odisha to widen expressway in 2 of poorest districts for economic development
The Odisha government headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik approved four-laning of the 174.5 km Biju Expressway through Kalahandi and Nuapada on Wednesday in a major boost to connectivity and trade and industrial activity in two of the 10 aspirational districts that have remained economically backward.
Odisha chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra said with a total approved cost of ₹448.02 crore, the project will be developed in EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) mode as a 4-lane carriageway and will include 17 minor bridges and 8 major bridges. The total length of Biju Expressway (Ghatipada-Sinapali) in Nuapada district will be 104.65 kms including 6 minor bridges and 6 major bridges. A 69.85 km long stretch of Biju Expressway (Sinapali-Dharmagarh-Ampani) will pass through Kalahandi district including construction of 11 minor bridges and two major bridges.
“This will not only provide enhanced connectivity in Western Odisha, but also provide impetus to industrial growth and overall economic development in the region,” said Mohapatra.
The Aspirational District programme of the Narendra Modi government aimed at transforming 115 backward districts in 28 states through convergence of Central and state schemes. Apart from Kalahandi and Nuapada, Odisha’s other 8 aspirational districts are Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur & Koraput.
Districts like Kalahandi and Nuapada, despite having rich natural resources, are yet to see desired economic development due to poor infrastructure, poor connectivity and very poor exposure to the rest of the world, experts say.
The Cabinet also decided to restructure the cadre of Odisha Administrative Service, the premier state civil service by increasing the cadre strength from 1903 to 2123. As officers of this cadre contribute mostly to revenue administration, law & order, rural & urban development, land acquisition, rehabilitation & resettlement, education & health and most importantly disaster management, the government felt the need for enhancement of posts in mid and senior levels through restructuring of the cadre, officials said.
“Government schemes and welfare activities have grown manifold over the years and this has necessitated the posting of officers in different levels, in addition to the existing scale,” said an official of the general administration department.