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Union home minister Shah, CM Patnaik launch national highway projects in Odisha

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BHUBANESWAR, Aug 5 (PTI): Paying rich tributes to freedom fighter and Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi on his death anniversary, union home minister
Amit Shah on Saturday inaugurated the much-awaited 51km Kamakshyanagar-Duburi four-lane section of National Highway-53 on EPC (Procurement and Construction) mode here in presence of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Shah, who was on a two-day visit to the state, started his programme with a tribute to Bordoloi and credited him as the person for whom the entire northeast region is now part of India.

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“Bordoloi, who was the first chief minister of Assam, made immense contribution to keep the northeast region as an integral part of India,” Shah said.

While thanking the state government and Odisha’s “popular” chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the Union home minister said the Centre has spent Rs 761 crore for four-laning the 51km section of the national highway. The road links the coal belt in Talcher and the steel hub at Kalinga Nagar.

“This road will link the mineral rich Angul and Dhenkanal districts with the NH and will act as an economy booster for the region,” he said.

Describing the national highways as the “fate-line” of the nation, Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always stressed on infrastructure development projects as they change the fate of a country.

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“Like Odisha, people of Gujarat also worship Lord Jagannath. On August 5, 2019, Modi had taken the historic decision to scrap Article 370. On this occasion, I thank the PM on behalf of people of the country,” Shah said.

“The naxal menace has been contained and there has been a drop in left-wing extremism. Odisha government has always supported the Centre to fight naxalites,” he added.

Shah along with Patnaik also laid the foundation stone for the widening and strengthening of Moter to Banner via Ladugaon Road in Kalahandi district. The programme was held at the convention centre in Lok Seva Bhavan, the state secretariat, in Bhubaneswar.

The Kamkhyanagar-Duburi stretch has two major bridges, seven minor bridges, seven underpasses, two animal underpasses, and a 1.73km-long bypass.

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For safe passage of wild animals through the stretch, a 160-metre and another 80-metre animal underpasses have also been constructed.

Union education and skill development minister Dharmendra minister, Odisha minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the gathering, Patnaik said, “My government believes that connectivity is the key to progress of the state and empowerment of our people.”

Citing the example of Gurupriya bridge in Malkangiri, Patnaik said it played a catalytic role in the development of the entire area.

Patnaik said the Biju Expressway, an economic corridor connecting west and south Odisha, will be a crucial platform to propel growth in the region.

Saying Odisha always believes in cooperative federalism, Patnaik thanked the central government for its support to the state in its development agenda.

Shah, who reached Bhubaneswar on Friday night, is scheduled to hold review meetings on left-wing extremism (LWE) and disaster management with the state government officials on Saturday.

Later in the afternoon, Shah held a closed-door meeting with newly appointed state office bearers of the BJP and discussed the preparedness and strategies of the party for the next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections due in 2024.

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