Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri/Bhubaneswar, Sep 14:
Former Speaker of Odisha Assembly and sitting legislator of Puri Maheswar Mohanty today lost his cool and hurled abuses at a television journalist of a regional news channel when the latter posed some uncomfortable queries pertaining to the newly-built Malatipatapur bus terminal seven kms away from the pilgrim town.
The Puri representative of Kanak News got an earful from the former Law minister for putting awkward questions to him related to the advisability of having a bus stand so far away from the town at such a huge cost.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) strongman got infuriated when the journo asked him in whose interest was the modern bus terminal built at a cost of Rs 77 crore on the outskirts of the holy town and who finalised the site for of the terminal. Was it lack of foresight or whether the vested interest of the Nabakalebara Infrastructure Development Committee chairman played a decisive role in getting the official approval for it? What would be the fate of the bus bay?
The legislator was visibly angry at the uncompromising questions and his temper went through the roof. The fuming people’s representative used demeaning and derogatory words with obscene gestures unbecoming of a people’s representative – and especially someone who has held the post of the Speaker of the Assembly in the past.
“Could I have taken the decision alone? You are talking bull shit… why don’t you apply your common sense and conscience? You mean-minded man ###### (abusing). Am I your sister-in-law?” the irritated MLA blurted.
It is alleged that Maheswar Mohanty used his clout to construct the modern bus terminal at Malatipatapur as a construction project of his son, a builder, had few takers since it was located at a place where there were no roads connecting it to the holy town. But with the terminal coming up in the vicinity and the road connecting it to the town passing through the construction site, the apartments were lapped up in next to no time.
Built specially for the Nabakalebara in July this year, this state-of-the-art bus terminus constructed by Real India Techno Economics Service (RITES) encompasses waiting rooms, toilets, restaurants, computerised ticket counters, commercial complex and other facilities. Despite this, it has failed to woo the transporters as a result of which the passenger facility has now become a rest shed for stray dogs and cows.
After his statement snowballed into a major controversy, the Puri MLA sought to put a lid on the matter.
“It was a personal discussion and off the records. There was no boom of the channel and it was a private talk. I took over as chairman of Nabakalebara Infrastructure Development Committee on September 1, 2014. The construction of bus stand started almost 18 months prior to that. The construction of my son’s apartment block could be a coincidence,” Maheswar said in an ‘official’ phone interview to Kanak News’ Manoranjan Mishra later in the day.
The opposition didn’t let go of the opportunity to take a potshot at the beleaguered legislator for his uncivilised words.
“If the people of the state would be awakened, the matter would be solved. This is a criminal misconduct. When the wrongdoings of the politicians are exposed, they are bound to get disturbed,” BJP leader Pratap Chandra Sarangi said.