Bhubaneswar, Nov 11: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has requested Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to take steps for upgradation of the existing National Highways Economic Corridor into eight lanes covering Raigarh in Chhattisgarh to Talcher in Angul district via Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Sambalpur in Odisha.
In the letter, Pradhan mentioned that the 300 km stretch of Raighar in Chhattisgarh and Ballhar at Talcher has the presence of three major industrial areas, namely Ib valley area (Thermal power, sponge iron, refractories and coalmines), Hirakud area (Aluminum & rolling mills) and Talcher-Angul area (Thermal power, aluminium, coal washeries, ferro alloys, coal mines).
Industrialisation in recent times and growing economic activity in these areas have made it not only the industrial backbone of the state but for the nation, Pradhan informed.
Presently, this stretch is served by NH-49 (Jharsuguda-Tileibani) and NH-53 (Deogarh-Reamal-Godibandha-Ballahar). It has been developed and expanded during the last eight years. Now, various developmental works are in progress to expand NH-49 into a 4-lane highway and NH-53 too.
The volume of traffic, freight and industrial transport through this stretch is only set to grow exponentially in coming years, wrote Pradhan.
"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 8 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," said Pradhan.