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The 163-km Sambalpur-Rourkela highway    

A Major Embarrassment For Odisha CM, Engineering Giant L&T Seizes Govt’s Property Over Non-Payment Of Dues

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has time and again affirmed his commitment to improve ease of doing business in the state. But, a recent expose in the Assembly by the Opposition parties, BJP and Congress proved to be otherwise; it was a major embarrassment for his government. Apparently, engineering giant L&T was forced to seize government property for non-payment of their dues towards building a 163-km road between Sambalpur–Rourkela at a cost of Rs 1200 crore. Reason: the state government did not see the urgency to settle the full payment to L&T, despite High Court and Supreme Court’s rulings in favour of L&T. Instead, it filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. The opposition alleged that the state government did not give importance and urgency to settle L&T’s dues. They pointed out that a Rs 20 crore outstanding to L&T was allowed to bloat up to Rs 120 crore which included interest component. A well-known Odisha-based businessman pointed out that the problems faced by private sector companies are payment delays, disputes in payments as a result of which the company loses time and money. With issues being highlighted in the Assembly will the Patnaik government fix these kinds of problems and send a positive signal to the industry?