Transport and communication is the basic infrastructural requirement for achieving rapid economic development. Adequacy of infrastructure in transport and communication sector is crucial for attracting investment. The ongoing economic reforms, therefore, attach high priority to development of transport and communication infrastructure.
Development of transportation infrastructure is also essential for marketing of agricultural products and enabling the farmers to get a fair price. State Government have, therefore, accorded high priority for all round development in Transport and Communication Sector.
The number of motor vehicles on road in the State during 2004-05 was 14.61 lakh, registering an increase of 14.87% over 2003-04. During 2000-01, the number of vehicles in the State per thousand square km was 5,622 and per lakh population 2,378. This has increased to 9,383 and 3804 respectively by the end of March 2005. Among the 26 transport regions in the State, the number of vehicles on road in Bhubaneswar region was highest (3,07,815) followed by Cuttack (1, 84,808) and Rourkela (1, 58,237) during 2004-05.
The Orissa State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC), some urban local bodies and private bus operators have been catering to the travel needs of people with 5,997 buses in the State during 2004 – 05. During 1990-91 when population of the State was 316 lakhs, the number of buses available per lakh population was only 9, and has since increased to 16 during 2004-05. Similarly during the same period, the number of goods vehicles available per lakh population has increased from 84 to 199.
Orissa has so far remained backward in the field of development of railways. The existing railway lines pass through the fringes of the State leaving the central areas untouched. This inadequacy is one of the factors which has had an adverse impact on the pace of infrastructural and industrial development in the State. There are 234 railway stations and 27 passenger halts in the State.
The railway routes cover 23 districts of the State and exclude seven districts viz. Boudh, Deogarh, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Malkangiri, Nawarangpur and Nayagarh.
A techno-economic feasibility study for introduction of Mass Rapid Transit System between CuttackBhubaneswar to be extended to Choudwar and Khurda has been sanctioned by Government of India under Centrally Sponsored Scheme and is in progress.
Among the 11 major ports in the country, Paradeep is the only port belonging to Orissa, through which minerals and metallurgical products are exported. The export activity through this port is in increasing trend.
The State Government have developed a fair weather port at Gopalpur with an investment of Rs.35.95 crore which has been opened to traffic from Feb., 1987. Since 2002-03 no export and import has been made through this port for want of cargo. State Government propose to develop Gopalpur Port into an all weather port through a private developer.
The operational activities of the Fishery port, Dhamara, continued in the year 2004-05. The trend at Dhamara, both in terms of its use by Trawler Owners and collection of revenue was quite encouraging. State Government propose to establish a Mega Port of international standard at Dhamara.
Inland water transport
This service is being provided by the State Government with the support and assistance from Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India. The Directorate of Inland Water Transport is the nodal agency which controls all activities relating to passenger launch services, survey and registration of Inland crafts, conducting examination of Serang, Master, Driver and Inland Engineers and preparation of schemes, direction and conducting training for the crews at crew training institute.
Passenger motor launch service is being provided in eight different water routes under three sectors. The Chandbali sector provides launch services from Chandbali to Aradi, Talachuan and Rajnagar while Balugaon sector provides services from Balugaon to Krushna Prasad, Kalijai, Nuapada and Satapada and Astarang sector provides services from Nuagarh to Sribantapur through 20 motor launches and 5 country boats. But after super cyclone of 1999, eleven motor launches and 3 country boats are operating in these routes after necessary repairs. The motor launch services from Balugaon to Satapada and Balugaon to Nuapada have been discontinued temporarily due to insufficient passengers and low draft of water at the lake shore.
The Directorate of Civil Aviation looks after the use and maintenance of the State’s passenger aircrafts and trainer aircrafts, training of student pilots and construction and development of air strips in the State. There are 13 airstrips and 16 helipads in the State for landing of State Government aircrafts and helicopters and efforts are being made for black topping of all the air strips to make them fit for all-weather operation.
Government of India in the Ministry of Civil Aviation have taken up expansion and modernization of Bhubaneswar Airport in view of its geographical, tourist and commercial importance. The State Government have provided 68.3 acres of land free of cost and the development work of the airport is in progress. Flights from Bhubaneswar to cities like Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai are available. Consequent upon declaration of Bhubaneswar Airport as Customs Airport, an air cargo complex started functioning at the airport since August, 1995 under the Air Customs Division, Bhubaneswar to facilitate export and import by air.