Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has penned a letter to his cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, requesting the expansion of an economic corridor that links two national highways between Raigarh in Chhattisgarh and Talcher in Odisha. Pradhan emphasised the necessity to widen the corridor to eight lanes to support the flourishing industrial activities in the region.
The economic corridor, covering approximately 300 kilometers from Raigarh to Ballhar in Talcher, encompasses three major industrial hubs: the Ib Valley area for thermal power, sponge iron, refractories, and coal mines; Hirakud for aluminum and rolling mills; and Talcher-Angul for power plants, coal washeries, and ferroalloys.
With the rapid industrialisation and increasing economic engagement in these regions, they have not only become the industrial backbone of Odisha but also play a pivotal role at the national level. To accommodate the expected growth in economic activities and transportation needs, Pradhan called for the expansion of the arterial roads in this corridor.
The economic corridor is currently served by NH-49, connecting Kanaktora in Chhattisgarh to Jharsuguda-Tileibani in Odisha, and NH-53, covering Deogarh-Reamal-Godibandha-Ballahar. These highways have witnessed significant upgrades over the last eight years.
Pradhan, who is also the Union Education Minister hailing from Odisha, highlighted that ongoing developmental works are in progress to transform NH-49 into a four-lane highway, and similar efforts are being made for NH-53. As the volume of traffic, freight, and industrial transport along this stretch is poised to increase substantially in the coming years, Pradhan appealed for upgrading the corridor to eight lanes.