06 December 2017
Bhubaneswar: In smart response to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's letter regarding inordinate delay in construction of the proposed 2nd bridge over river Brahmani near Rourkela in Sundergarh parliamentary constituency, Union Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has passed the buck on Odisha Government for delaying forest clearance and land acquisition for the purpose.
" I was surprised and pained to receive your letter and media reports suggesting the delay on part of NHAI. I may like to clarify that all these projects are delayed for want of forest clearances and land issues," Nitin writes to Naveen.
The Union Minister, in his letter written to the Odisha Chief Minister on December 5, states, “In continuation to our earlier meeting, I request you once again to kindly intervene in getting necessary forest clearances from the state government which have been pending from long besides acquisition of land. I assure you that this project shall be started within a week of receipt of requisite approvals from your end. To expedite the development of NH, active participation and support from the state government is paramount.”
On the other hand, Odisha Chief Minister dashed back a reply to the Union Transport & Highways Minister on Wednesday saying, "The issue of forest clearance raised in your letter dated 5.12.2017 is not related to the construction of the bridge. I understand that no forest clearance is necessary for construction of the said bridge as the proposed site is non-forest in nature. This has been confirmed in the letter of State Forest authorities. Further the Project Director of NHAI at Rourkela has also stated that the above said land where 2nd bridge over Brahmani has to be constructed is non-forest."
"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 NHAI wroks," the CM concludes the letter.