Bhubaneswar: Requesting an upgrade of the existing National Highways Economic Corridor (NHEC) into eight lanes stretching from Raigarh in Chhattisgarh to Talcher in Angul district of Odisha via Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Sambalpur sections, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has written a letter to Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, a source said today.
“This stretch of approximately 300 KMs starting from Raigarh in Chhattisgarh and extending up to Ballhar at Talcher has the presence of three major industrial areas, namely the Ib valley area (thermal power, sponge iron, refractories, and coal mines), Hirakud area (Aluminum & rolling mills) and Talcher-Angul area (thermal power, aluminum, coal washeries, ferroalloys, coal mines). Rapid industrialisation in recent times and growing economic activity in these areas have made it not only the industrial backbone of the State but also for the nation,” Union Minister Pradhan said in his letter.
Presently, this stretch is served by NH-49 [Kanaktora (Old-Chhattisgarh border)-Jharsuguda-Tileibani] and NH-53 (Deogarh-Reamal-Godibandha-Ballahar). Your gracious attention to these highways has seen much of its expansion and upgradation in the last eight years. At present, different packages of various developmental works are in progress to expand NH-49 into a four-lane Highway and NH-53 as well. The volume of traffic, freight, and industrial transport through this stretch is only set to grow exponentially in the coming years, Union Minister Pradhan further stated.
“In view of the potential of the above stretch covering the Ib Valley, Hirakud Area, and Angul-Talcher region, I take this opportunity to request you to consider upgrading this stretch to an economic corridor of eight lanes which will go a long way in ensuring improved infrastructure for the present and upcoming industries in these areas as well as boosting the economy of the state and the nation as a whole,” Union Minister Pradhan’s letter mentioned.