ROURKELA: The foundation laying ceremony of the six-lane Brahmani bridge and first phase expansion of NH 143 on Friday turned a platform for BJP and BJD leaders to score brownie points.
Interestingly, BJP Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray, who recently criticised Modi Government at the Centre for the delay of Brahmani bridge and upgradation of RSP-run Ispat General Hospital (IGH), also came under attack of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas (PNG) Dharmendra Pradhan.In a mild attack laced with sarcasm, Pradhan said Ray is close to Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik. After being prodded by Ray, the CM immediately shot off a letter to the Centre on NH 143 delay, he said.
Due to technical faults, the NH project was stuck for years under the previous Congress-led UPA Government, Pradhan said and sought to know why Naveen did not write any letter then. BJD MLA from RN Pali and former minister Subrat Tarai claimed that the CM’s intervention was instrumental for the bridge project. Criticising the Centre for delay in upgradation of IGH into Super Speciality Hospital and Medical College, Tarai said, ‘’Going by its sorry state of affairs now, IGH stands for ‘I Go to Hell’.’’ Pradhan retorted by giving the example of the poorly-managed State Government-run Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH).
The Union Minister invited Tarai and Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick, who was also on the dais, to accompany him to Naveen to know why Rourkela was left out when the Centre finalised five medical college and hospitals (MCHs) for Balasore, Puri, Mayurbhanj, Koraput and Balangir with 60 per cent funding.Pradhan reminded Tarai that the BJD Government provided `10 crore and free land to the private Hi-Tech MCH which is now in a pathetic condition.Targeting Ray, the Union Minister asked why did the Rourkela MLA not write to the CM about the Hi-Tech issue?
However, the Petroleum Minister accepted Ray’s demand for gas pipeline and invited him to visit the Rourkela city with him to see possible alignments for the project.Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said the two-year delay of the NH 143 project and IGH issues were blown out of proportion and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister is monitoring the IGH project.The foundation laying ceremony of NHAI was also attended by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.