Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 24:
Concerned over the tardy pace of work in the expansion of Bhubaneswar-Puri National Highway -316, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik today urged the Centre to take adequate measures to ensure timely completion of the work before the ensuing Nabakalebara festival scheduled in June next year.
In a letter to Union minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, Patnaik said that during his last review on the progress of work relating to the festival, he had found that the ongoing NH expansion work along the said route was moving at a snail’s pace.
“Since NH-316 serves as the gateway to Puri from Bhubaneswar, completion of the road over-bridge near Malatipatpur and the Puri bypass on the same Highway, along with four-laning of the entire road, is essential before March next year. While the state is getting ready for the unique festival, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) authorities have to expedite their pace of work failing which, all our plans for tourist traffic management to and from Puri during the heavy rush will be completely disrupted,” the chief minister pointed out.
Stating that nearly 30 lakh devotees are expected to visit Puri to witness the unique festival of Lord Jagannath, which is held once every 12 to 18 years, Patnaik requested the Union minister to intervene in the matter and direct the NHAI authorities and the concessionaire to mobilize their resources to complete the above mentioned works before March next year.
The chief minister also invited the Union minister to visit Puri to witness the grand festival.