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Nabakalebar: Odisha Cong leader raises doubts over completion of infra projects


Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Puri, Feb 22:

Citing lack of inter-departmental coordination, senior Congress leader and former legislator from Odisha’s Brahmagiri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra today expressed apprehensions over completion of infrastructure projects for the upcoming Nabakalebar Yatra of Lord Jagannath by March 31.

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With less than four months to go for the Nabakalebar Yatra of the Lords, not even 30 percent work on the projects has been completed till date as unskilled workmen have been employed by contractors, putting question mark on the quality standards of these works, Mohapatra claimed during a press meet held here.

These apprehensions of Nabakalebar Yatra turning out to be a damp squib will come true unless immediate attention is paid to it, the former lawmaker warned.

Similarly, some anti-social elements are creating hurdles in certain development works as a result of which work on these projects are yet to begin. Neither the police nor the administration is taking any steps to prevent such occurrences, alleged Mohapatra. He said while work on the public distribution system front is yet to take off, the department claims that it’s complete.

While plans were drawn for sinking of 200 deep bore wells and 1200 ordinary bore wells in Puri city in order to ameliorate drinking water problems, not a single bore well has been sunk yet, the senior Congress leader pointed out.

Elaborating to the media on the progress made in the development of roads and allied infrastructure, Mohapatra highlighted that the stretch between Malatipatapur to Marine Drive on the NH 203 remains incomplete, bridge on Charinala remains to be completed with only its foundation laid till date and work on construction of a bridge at Rendio on the stretch between Charinala and Pada is yet to start.

He further pointed out that work on the six km stretch of road between Rendio and Samagara is yet to start, only 50 percent work has been completed on the Gop-Balighai road, work on the stretch between Kushabhadra river and Netapur remains to be completed and work on four km of the Konark –Kakatpur 21 km road has been completed.

Similarly, on the rail road front only piling of earth on the five km stretch of rail road between Satyabadi and Biraharekrushnapur and six km stretch between Biraharekrushnapur and Puri has been completed, alleged Mohapatra.

Tearing apart into the state government’s tall claims to provide 24×7 uninterrupted power supplies to Puri during the Nabakalebar Yatra of the Lords, Mohapatra quoted a reply obtained through RTI in which project officer of the grid substation project Anirban Mukherjee has stated that at Pandiabali where the project is to be located local anti-social elements were creating problems out of the blue hindering progress in the construction of the grid substation and the project’s progress has been limited to mere construction of a boundary wall for the project.

On the construction of drains in the city, the former Brahmagiri MLA alleged that work on 15-20 km of drains have been completed out of the 60 km length of drains planned for the city. None of the drains completed are able to expel water from them due to faulty construction, the reason being engagement of unskilled workers, he added.

Pulling a shot at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for forgetting to propose Puri while proposing for setting up of a medical college while proposing so at Balangir, Baleswar, Baripada and Koraput Mohapatra said it was we who had demanded before the then Union Health Minister for a medical college at Puri in view of the Nabakalebar Yatra of the Lords following which he had ordered for inclusion of Puri among the locations for setting up of medical colleges.

“The district headquarters hospital here has been accorded ISO certification but is offering patient care comparable to that which is available in rural hospitals”, alleged Mohapatra. “The hospital has no cardiologist, neither a neurologist nor a nephrologist and patients have to face problems at private hospitals”, he added.

Moreover, the hospital doesn’t have isolation wards for swine flu and ebola patients Mohapatra pointed out and said in case of somebody suffering from these diseases from the milling crowds expected to attend the Nabakalebar neither would get treatment here nor can the hospital prevent its spread.

“Plans for 300 first aid centres, 300 ambulances, 150 specialists, 200 assistant surgeons, 1000 paramedics, 100 additional beds in the district headquarters hospital and 200 in the TB hospital and trauma care centre for the Nabakalebar Yatra will remain a dream”, the senior Congress leader said.

The Archeological Society of India (ASI) has undertaken the repair and restoration of the Shree Jagannath Temple since last forty years. The ASI was using unskilled workmen and the removal of lime plaster from the temple has weakened it. Besides, the Chief Minister has never bothered to take stock of the restoration of repair work, Mohapatra alleged.

Telling that the dilly dallying of the government in paying Daitpatis their dues for last year Rath Yatra as promised by the government and brewing of resentment among them could lead to lack of cooperation from the Daitapatis, expressed Mohapatra.

The former working president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee has alleged that contractors have swindled crores of rupees by mere spraying of bitumen. Mohapatra has given a list in which he has stated that Rs 94 lakh has been swindled on work on the road between Dolamandap Sahi to Darjipokhari; Rs 84 lakh on the stretch between Gandua Chaura Chhak and Bidhaba Ashram Chakk; Rs 1.04 crore for the stretch between Ram Mandir to Helipad; from Balighat to Gopalpur Rs 76 lakh; Mochi Sahi to Railway station Rs 42 lakh and from BNR Hotel to Grand Road Rs 2.34 crore.

However, Nabakalebara Infrastructure Supervision Committee (NISC) chairman, Puri MLA and former Law Minister Maheswar Mohanty has refuted the charges and said that work by all departments concerned was in progress and that the district collector was holding meeting every Monday for coordination between departments.

“Work on roads and drains for the Nabakalebar Yatra will be completed before the scheduled time. Work could have been little accelerated had there been a little more coordination. Glitches in this account are being coordinated between departments during meeting held by the collector every Monday,” said Mohanty.