BHUBANESWAR: As the war of words between the BJD and the BJP continues over the delay in construction of second bridge on river Brahmani near Rourkela, the saffron party on Thursday said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s clarification that no forest clearance is required is not based on facts.
State BJP general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra said, the proposed six-lane bridge over Brahmani river is a part of the 29.1 km Birmitrapur-Brahmani bypass end section project of National Highway (NH)-143. Though the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is aware of the fact that the river bridge is not coming under forest land, 4.85 km stretch of the bypass end section is falling under forest land. The State Government is also aware of it.
As per the agreement with NHAI, the State Government has to provide statutory clearance for that portion of the forest land and work on the project will commence only after handing over 90 per cent of required land, Baxipatra said.
The Chief Minister’s clarification that no forest clearance is required is not only misleading but a deliberate attempt to cover up his Government’s inefficiency, he said. Naveen, on Wednesday, informed the Centre that no forest clearance is necessary for construction of a second bridge over Brahmani.
The Chief Minister’s missive came after Union Road Transport and National Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari held the State Government responsible for delay in the project saying NHAI could not commence construction activities due to lack of forest clearance and land acquisition.
On the other hand, BJP has asked the State Government to explain to the people about the delay in construction of a barrage on Koel river near Rourkela, foundation stone for which was laid by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on July 9, 2013.
Replying to a question from Roukela MLA Dilip Ray, the State Government had informed the Assembly that plans were afoot to construct a pickup weir at Hamirpur, a place lower down the Koel river course. In a written reply to Ray, the Chief Minister had said due to problem of land acquisition for the dam project, a proposal for construction of a pickup weir at Hamirpur is under consideration.