Bhubaneswar: Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday accorded national highway (NH) status to around 2,000 km of state highways in Odisha, while announcing Rs.35,000 crore investment in other related projects.

Gadkari said tourism potential, including religious tourism and backward area connectivity have been given priority while industrial corridor and port connectivity were kept in mind for the development of the state.

“Presently, Odisha has 4,639 km national highway. We have decided to increase the coverage by another 2,000 km,” Gadkari said while addressing a press conference here.

He also said that Jajpur and Jagatsinghpur districts would be linked with the NH network.

He said his ministry has decided to invest Rs.35,000 crore for the development and construction of national highways of which the project work of Rs.10,000 crore would begin by the end of December this year.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been asked to prepare detailed project reports by the end of December, he added.

Gadkari said his ministry would also establish a highway village promoting local handloom and handicraft products at Pipili-Raghurajpur between Bhubaneswar and Puri.

Saying that 12 bypasses would be constructed in the state, the transport minister said his ministry would create a Transport Nagar at Berhampur bypass in Ganjam district where godowns, cold storage facility and petrol pump would be set up.

The new national highways that would come up in the state include 400 km of Palsa-Paralakmeundi-Ramanaguda-Bissamcuttck-Muniguda-Bhawanipatna-Patnagarh sector, Padmapur-Chhattisgarh (to join NH6), Bhubaneswar-Athagarh-Shankarpur-Mahidharpur-Badkera joining NH 42 (150 km), Naranpur (Keonjhar), Kamakhyanagar-Parjang-Khadagprasad (140 km), Cuttack-Chandwali-Dharma-Bhadrak-Anandpur (190km), Badkera (Angul)-Hindol-Daspallah-Bhanjanagar (120 km), Nayagarh-Jankia-CHandpur (140 km), Balangir-Patnagarh-Harishankar- Nrusinghnath-Paikmal-Nuapada (130 km).

Source: IANS