JHARSUGUDA/BARPALI:Buoyed by the landslide victory of the BJD candidate in Bijepur by-election, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made a whirlwind tour of Jharsuguda and Barpali on Monday and dedicated a slew of development projects in the region. The move comes at a time when people of Western Odisha have been raking up the issue of regional imbalance in terms of growth in the area since long.
The meeting also saw a twist as Jharsuguda Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das, who had been lashing out at BJD Government, heaping praise on the Chief Minister and attributing numerous development projects in Jharsuguda to the CM.
Flying to OSAP ground and then travelling to Panchpada High School ground in Jharsuguda, Naveen dedicated the 163-km stretch of Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Sambalpur Biju Expressway, four-laned at an estimated cost of `1,200 crore under PPP mode, to the people of the State.
Naveen said the stretch has been funded by the people of Odisha as the State Government has spent `3,200 crore for Biju Expressway covering 650 km starting from Chandil in Koraput to Rourkela. He said the Expressway will mark the golden age of communication for the people of Western Odisha and will provide a major boost to the economy of the region. The road is being undertaken in a phased manner and once completed, it will reduce travel time from 13 hours to 6 hours. The stretch between Sambalpur and Rourkela has been developed on PPP mode.
Among others, Jharsugdua MLA Naba Das, Bargarh MP Prabhas Singh, WODC Chairman Kishore Mohanty, Chairman, Odisha Lift Irritation Corporation, Anup Kumar Sai, Sundargarh MLA Yogesh Singh, Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi, Rajgangpur MLA Mangala Kishan, Rengali MLA Ramesh Chandra Patua, Raghunathpali MLA Subrat Tarai and former Rourkela MLA Sharda Nayak also addressed the public meeting.
At the meeting held at Barpali High School ground, which had been aptly named “Juhar Bijepur” as a mark of thanksgiving to the people of Bijepur for the resounding victory of the BJD, Naveen expressed his gratitude to the people of Bijepur for upholding the “Swaabhimaan” (self-respect) of 4.5 crore Odias. He said he was overwhelmed by the love, affection and trust showered by the people of Bijepur and this has boosted his morale.
The Chief Minister also thanked the BJD workers from “the core of the heart” and paid tributes to Dileswar Sahu, who lost his life in poll violence and reassured the gathering that all promises made would be fulfilled and Bijepur would be no different from his Assembly segment Hinjili. Admitting that the victory in Bijepur had strengthened the BJD further, he went on to lay foundation stone for 20 development projects for the Assembly segment.
The important projects include strengthening of Diptipur-Gaiselet Road, Mega LI Point at Jamutpali in Gaiselet Block, Medicine Godown at Barpali, new Block Office at Gaiselet, upgradation of Sevashram Schools to high schools at Gourenmunda and Bijadola, 100-bedded tribal Girls Hostel at Sanbaunsen Ashram School and Drinking Water Project at Manoharpali.
Among others, newly elected MLA of Bijepur constituency Rita Sahu, senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya, A U Singhdeo, Works Minister Prafulla Mallik, Handloom, Textile and Handicrafts Minister Snehangini Chhuria, senior BJD leaders Sanjaya Dasburma, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Arun Sahu, and Bargarh MP Prabhas Singh also spoke on the occasion.