Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 15:
Construction of Gurupriya bridge — a long-cherished dream of the tribals in the cut-off areas of Odisha’s Malkangiri district — will finally be over by June 2017, if reports presented in the Unified Command meeting held at the state intelligence headquarters today are to be believed.
Full-fledged construction work on the bridge, whose foundation stone was laid by former Chief Minister JB Patnaik way back in 1982, had started in 2014.
The tribals in this cut-off area have been living with great difficulty since 1964 after the construction of the Chitrakonda dam project for the Balimela Hydropower project started. This cut-off area has 154 villages spread over seven panchayats with a population of 30,000 tribals.
The only means of communication for these tribals to reach the outside world are some old and tattered wooden boats and a motor launch that frequently malfunctions.
Apart from the bridge, the Unified Command meeting also deliberated on strengthening anti-Maoist operations in 19 districts of the state using BSF, CRPF and Odisha police forces.
“Today we discussed the operational issues between the State Government and the paramilitary forces. Besides, progress of Gurupriya bridge was also reviewed. The work had been delayed slightly because of certain technical issues. However, it has picked up now. We hope that the construction will be completed by June 2017, if construction makes progress at this speed,” he added.
Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Police DG KB Singh, Development Commissioner UN Behera, IG Operations RP Koche, representatives of BSF, CRPF and central intelligence agencies were part of the meeting among others.