Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said that no forest clearance was required for the construction of the second bridge over the Brahmani river near Rourkela.
Patnaik was responding to a letter written to him by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari in which he had alleged that forest clearance and land acquisition issues were delaying the execution of the project.
"I understand that no forest clearance is necessary for the construction of the said bridge as the proposed site is non-forest in nature," the chief minister said.
Patnaik said the same has been confirmed by the state forest authorities, and the project director of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) at Rourkela.
"In view of this, there is no impediment for the NHAI to start the construction work even tomorrow. I assure you to extend all support of the state government in the NHAI works," Patnaik wrote to Gadkari.
The Odisha chief minister had on Monday sought the Union minister's personal intervention to start work on the project. He also said that his government was ready to fund the construction work if needed.
Gadkari had yesterday said he was "surprised" and "pained" to receive Patnaik's letter on Monday, and media reports suggesting the delay on the part of the NHAI.
"I would like to clarify that the project got delayed for want of forest clearances and land," Gadkari said.
The Union minister also said THAT the Odisha government should appreciate the fact that he approved a six-lane bridge instead of a two-lane one as proposed by the state government, in view of the growing traffic and socio-economic importance of the route.
Gadkari said his ministry has been proactively taking up the development of the national highways in Odisha.
Road projects spanning 3,121 km is currently being undertaken in the state, he added.