Eight months since the tender for the construction of a bridge over the Mahanadi to connect River Island, Kud Gunderpur in Dhankauda block of Sambalpur district was finalized, work on the project is yet to start. Frustrated with the delay, locals of Kud Gunderpur gram panchayat are now planning to launch an agitation. The reason for the delay is that the Public Works Department (PWD), which is supposed to execute the work, is still to enter into an agreement with the construction firm, shortlisted to carry out the work.
A Chhattisgarh-based construction firm had been shortlisted to build the 450-metre bridge, which when complete will connect Kud Gunderpur, located 35 km from here and a patch of land on the Mahanadi, with village Tulundi.
One has to take a boat to reach Kud Gunderpur gram panchayat, which comprises six villages – Kud Gunderpur, Kud Tabda, Kud Jampali, Kud Amlipali, Kud Mahada and Kud Patakhai.
“We do not have any option but to resort to agitation now,” president of Kud Gunderpur Sangram Samiti, Soumitri Padhee, said.
When contacted, the sub-divisional officer (SDO) of PWD, Bankim Panda said: “The estimated budget for the bridge’s construction is Rs 32 crore. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has agreed to provide the fund. We have already sent the estimate to NABARD for approval. We will enter into an agreement with the shortlisted construction firm as soon as NABARD releases funds.”
The proposed embankment along river Mahanadi is likely to come up soon as National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has agreed to provide funds for the project. It will be constructed from Ring Road near Nelson Mandela Chowk to the confluence point of Haradjoar and river Mahanadi near Shankar Mutt.
Executive Engineer of Water Resources Department, Sambalpur, Sushil Kumar Behera said NABARD has approved the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the proposed embankment and agreed to allocate requisite fund for the project recently.
He also said some private land will be acquired for construction of the embankment and the land acquisition process will begin soon. The tendering process for the embankment will begin after completion of the land acquisition, Behera added.
The 1,800-metre embankment will prevent water-logging during monsoon. The embankment will prevent the backwater of river Mahanadi from flowing into the city. The detailed project report (DPR) of the embankment has already received green signal by the Technical Advisory Committee of the Water Resources Department to be executed at an estimated cost of `38 crore. The DPR was sent to NABARD for funding recently.
Haradjoar Nullah, which is a tributary of river Mahanadi, and Dhobijoar Nullah, that passes through the city carrying sewage, merge with Mahanadi between Binakhandi and Phaskuda. During monsoon, polluted water of both the nullahs and Mahanadi swell and flows back into the nullahs through the discharge points. The embankment will ensure that water from the nullahs flows into the river downstream near Shankar Mutt instead of the two points at Binakhandi and Shankar Mutt. This will solve the problem of backwater entering the city. Besides, the two permanent water pumping stations commissioned at Binakhandi and Balibandha areas by Odisha Construction Corporation, coupled with the proposed embankment, will provide a permanent solution to water-logging in the city.
A new look is in the offing for the 16th century temple of Lord Shiva, Mandhata temple, at Maneswar in the city. Municipal engineer, Basanta Kumar Padhy said desiltation of the water body and construction of an inner protection wall has been completed at the cost of `18 lakh. A decision has been taken to construct a pathway surrounding the water body, develop a lawn and construct cemented chairs on the bank. Some other beautification works will also be carried out. “Our work will gain pace after the rainy season,” he said. A total of 54 turtles, which were in the water body, have been taken out from the pond to facilitate the renovation and beautification. The civic body has built a small tank as a temporary home for the turtles till the completion o f the wat erbody ’ s beautification.
The temple at Maneswar, which was built by the first king of Sambalpur, Balaramdev, in the 16th century, is one of the most famous Shiv temples of the region. Historians said in the undivided district of Sambalpur, a large number of Shiva temples were built during the Chauhan rule. The most important among them are the Asta Sambhu Pithas. Mandhata temple in Maneswar is one of the eight Asta Sambhu Pithas. Murali Pujari, a priest of the temple, hoped that after completion of beautification works, the number of visitors will increase.
A student was killed on Wednesday after an oncoming truck hit the bicycle she was riding on her way to college in Sambalpur.
The deceased has been identified as Puja Shankar of SBP Colony and was a first year intermediate commerce student of the Govt. Women’s College, Sambalpur.
According to reports, a truck hit Puja about 9.30 am this morning near Bhutapada Chhak while she was cycling on her way to college. She sustained leg injury in the accident and was rushed to a nearest hospital where the attending doctor declared her dead .
Police have detained the truck driver and seized the vehicle. Mild tension erupted at Bhutapada following the incident as college students blocked the road near Dhanupali police station.
Union Minister of State for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan criticised the Odisha government and said the Kalahandi incident has maligned Odisha’s image.
The shocking incident of a poor tribal carrying his wife’s body on his shoulders is a sad reflection of the insensitivity in the state. The incident shows the insensitivity of the state administration towards the people of the state. Both the state and the district administrations should take the matter very seriously and introspect,” Pradhan said.
The Kalahandi BJP unit staged a demonstration before the Bhawanipatna CDMO office protesting the incident. Talking to reporters here, Pradhan said the Chief Minister and the administration appear to be speaking in different voices over such a sensitive issue that has outraged the entire nation.
While CM Naveen Patnaik talks of inquiry and action against those responsible, the administration has been on a cover-up job denying any lapses and insisting that the bereaved Dana Majhi had left the hospital with his wife without informing anyone.
The Union Minister also took a swipe at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for announcing ‘Mahaprayan scheme’’, hearse at every hospital to carry bodies free of cost. The Kalahandi district headquarter hospital did have hearse and ambulances yet Dana Majhi had to carry his wife’s body on his shoulders, he quipped.
Schemes can be announced, but the crux of the matter is to ensure it is implemented across the state effectively, remarked Pradhan.
Meanwhile the Chief District Medical Officer of Kalahandi , Braja Kishore Brahma terminated the contract of a male nurse Rajendra Rana for dereliction of duty in connection with the Dana Majhi case.
Union Minister Pradhan also came down heavily on the state government for the mess in the education sector and caustically remarked that teachers cannot be treated like cab service providers. On the contentious Mahanadi river water dispute between Chhattisgarh and Odisha,he said ,the central government had taken the lead in mediation between the two states and Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati has invited Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for talks on any date convenient to him between 10 to 20 September.