Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday informed the Centre that no forest clearance is necessary for the construction of a second bridge over the Brahmani River near Rourkela in Sundergarh district.
In a letter to Union Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Chief Minister said there is no impediment for the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to start construction work.
The missive of the Chief Minister came after Gadkari held the Odisha government responsible for the delay in the project saying it is delaying the forest clearance and land acquisition process.
"No forest clearance is necessary for the construction of the said bridge as the proposed site is non-forest in nature," said Patnaik.
He said while the forest authority has also confirmed this, the project director of NHAI at Rourkela has stated that the land where the second bridge has to be constructed is non-forest.
Earlier on December 4, the Chief Minister had informed that his government will construct the second bridge over the river itself if the Centre did not show seriousness in carrying out the construction.
The issue also resonated in the Odisha Assembly on Wednesday with the ruling BJD and the BJP blaming each other for the inordinate delay in the construction of the bridge.