Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 6:
A day after a portion of the main road connecting the Grand Road in Puri town caved in and a loaded truck was trapped in it, Odisha government officials today made an on-the-spot inquiry to ascertain the reason behind the mishap.
The recently appointed Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for Nabakalabara Soumendra Priyadarshi, Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal and staff of Public Health Department and Public Works Department (PWD) visited the site to inquire into the incident.
“Chief Engineers of PWD and Sewerage Boards have visited the spot. We would examine where exactly the fault lay and take appropriate action against those responsible for this,” Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal said.
It is learnt that the officials have recommended to the state government a probe the incident by an expert team.
“There was no new construction on the road. A coat of coal tar was laid recently but this is not the reason for the road caving in. The sewerage chamber constructed in 2010 is 6-8 meters below the ground. Pipes were laid near P-9 pump almost a fortnight ago and during that some cavities might have been there,” Chief Engineer of Public Works Department, Bharat Chandra Pradhan said.
With less than two weeks to go for the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra, yesterday’s incident has raised questions on the infrastructure preparedness. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had inaugurated a host of infrastructure projects in the city, a day prior to that.
“This road was constructed in 2010 when sewerage lines were laid before Rath Yatra then. Had it been low quality road construction, it would have emerged then as many heavy vehicles are plying on it. We would check for other possible cavities,” Chief Engineer Public Health Department, Manoranjan Das said.
Yesterday, scores of local unit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress workers staged a protest, burnt tyres and blocked the Grand Road for nearly nine hours alleging poor quality of road and sewerage tunnel construction which they said led to such an incident. The protest rally at the Medical Square disrupted vehicular movement for the better part of the day.
Later, BJP leaders submitted a memorandum to the Vigilance Commissioner demanding an inquiry into the incident. The agitators withdrew their strike only after assurance of inquiry from the district administration. However, Congress workers continued with their protest till late in the night.
A chips-laden truck coming from the Jail Road was entering the city at around 11.30 am. However, it got trapped in the road which caved in almost 5 feet in front of the P-9 pump house. The driver lost control of the truck and almost ran over a trolley rickshaw carrying cement bags. The sexagenarian rickshaw puller escaped with minor injuries.
The partially blocked road was cleared of the vehicle at around 12.30 am.