Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Nov 5:
The future of proposed Medical College and Hospital at Odisha’s Puri remains uncertain as the locals continue to oppose the construction at the present site vehemently.
While construction works for the college at Baliguali village under Puri Sadar police limits was scheduled to start today, it had to come to an abrupt halt following heavy tension and road blockade by villagers. Section 144 had to be imposed by the administration to avoid any law and order situation.
Earlier in the day, the women of the village faced off with the cops demanding the site of the medical college be shifted as soon as L&T construction officials reached the spot along with police. The cops have arrested more than 10 females from the village so far.
“We have been protecting this land since ever and haven’t even allowed anyone to take away a handful of sand from this village. They expect us to give away our land of generations to make some college. This would never happen,” said an agitating woman.
Another woman was comparatively more considerate.
“We are not averse to the college. Let it come up at another place. They want to do it on a place we need the most. Now, if they think they would impose section-144 and take it away, they are clearly mistaken. We would never allow it,” said another woman.
“The district administration and police administration have kept all doors open to negotiate and sort out the issue. If they have any other demands, they can speak to us. We would try to help them as much as we can,” said a senior Police official deployed on the spot.
Notably, the villagers have been opposing the location of the proposed college as it would take away the cemetery, pond and the road that the villagers use on a daily basis. They have been demanding to set up the college at a different location, preferably around Puri Konark marine drive.
Earlier on October 19, hundreds of women of the village had demonstrated at the present site demanding relocation of the proposed college. Even though Sub Collector Madhusudan Dash and Tehsildar Subhananda Mahapatra along with police officers had met the villagers on October 17, the discussion had remained inconclusive.