Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, Mar 10:
Odisha BJP MLA and former Union minister Dilip Ray on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought his intervention to expedite various infrastructure projects for the forthcoming Nabakalebara festival due in July this year.
The pace at which the works are in progress castss doubts over their timely completion, Ray said.
Besides, he requested the Prime Minister to constitute a five-member independent ministerial committee comprising Central ministers to monitor the progress of work on various projects to ensure their timely completion. The panel w=should comprise the efence Minister, Health Minister, Railway Minister, Surface Transport Minister and Civil Aviation Minister, he proposed.
The Rourkela MLA also presented a two-page letter to the Prime Minister in which he mentioned that the Nabakalebara festival is being celebrated after 19 years and footfall of nearly 50 lakh pilgrims is expected.
Keeping in view the mad rush of devotees during the festival, the pilgrim town is not equipped with necessary infrastructure. Healthcare, accommodation, transport, sanitation, parking and crowd management facilities are not in place, he said.
Ray requested the Prime Minister to set up a 250-bed makeshift Army hospital as a standby to prevent possible health disasters since jaundice has taken alarming proportions in several parts of the state. In addition to this, he sought Centre’s intervention in construction of flyovers and roads to expedite the projects.
“The doubling of rail lines and expansion of national highway from Puri to Bhubaneswar are yet to be over. Though the state government has put in efforts to complete the projects before Nabakalebara, I doubt whether the work would be completed in time, with just three months to go for the mega festival”, he added.
As around five million people from various corners of the globe are expected to throng the pilgrim town, Ray sought introduction of special trains from every state to Bhubaneswar and Puri for the festival. Besides, increasing the frequency of flights to and from Bhubaneswar and introduction of new flights would help the tourists to fly from various locations to participate in the festival, he said.
The legislator also urged to erect makeshift accommodation facilities as the existing facilities are insufficient to house the pilgrims, he said.
The Prime Minister assured Ray that his suggestions will be given due consideration and necessary action will be initiated, though the state government has not taken up the issue with him.