BHUBANESWAR:Even as last week witnessed an inauguration spree of projects related to the Nabakalebara by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Ministers, a spell of showers has exposed the claim of preparedness for the Rath Yatra on July 18.
Knee-deep water on the Grand Road left the administration in a tizzy as the area was inundated despite the State Government’s claim that the drainage project has been completed.
Opposition political parties, Congress and BJP, have taken the State Government to task for being busy with inauguration of projects without their completion. Alleging that there has been large scale irregularities in implementation of Nabakalebara projects, senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said the drainage work has been sub-standard.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the progress of Nabakalebara projects at Puri on July 10 and four Ministers are camping there, Mohapatra said and added that there has been no progress in the projects.
President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan said the grand festival is going to be a mess since the State Government has completely failed to properly execute the infrastructure works. Harichandan made a mockery of the drainage system in the temple town by showing some pictures of inundated Grand Road following heavy rainfall on Saturday.
“Is this the way the infrastructure works should be done? And how come the State Government is taking credit to have finished all the projects. Has it completed the projects in this way?” asked the OPCC chief.
OPCC chief spokesperson Ganeswar Behera criticised both the State Government and the Centre for the mess. There is a competition between the BJD and BJP for inauguration of projects for propaganda, he said.
But no project has been completed, he said and added that out of 77 km long drainage network, only 57 km has been completed.
Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo, however, said because of some small mistakes, the Grand Road was waterlogged. But water was drained out as it was discovered that some drainage mouth points had choked.
The Minister said steps have been taken to ensure a smooth car festival even if there will be heavy showers. Pumps will be installed at 14 points to drain out water within 30 minutes in case of heavy shower, he said and added that all drainage and sewerage works have been completed.
The State Government claimed that 14 projects had been undertaken with an expenditure of Rs 25 crore for improvement in the drainage system in and around Puri town.