BHUBANESWAR: The underground cabling project is causing inconvenience to commuters and residents. It has turned out to be one of the major causes for traffic congestion at important thoroughfares of the Capital.
Currently, two underground cabling projects (one for uninterrupted power supply and another for Wi-Fi facility) and one underground gas pipeline project are being implemented in the city. However, the slow pace of the work under these projects has raised concern among the residents and commuters.
The underground cabling work for uninterrupted power supply was started in 2016 to lay overhead 33kv and 11kv power lines under the ground covering 350-kms in the city.
Sources said the entire project was to be completed at a cost of `1,500 crore within five years, of which ` 350 crore was allocated in the first phase with a deadline of two years.
The project work being implemented by Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) and Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) in four major stretches of the capital - Sachivalaya Marg, Bidyut Marg, Janpath and Cuttack-Puri Road – remains incomplete.
The power authorities have awarded the project to a private firm. However, allegations are being made that the work of the project has remained tardy in the absence of proper mechanism for monitoring and supervision.
Likewise, to make Bhubaneswar Wi-Fi enabled ahead of Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 in November this year, the Smart City authorities allowed execution of underground cabling work for laying of optical fiber cables. Honeywell India has been awarded the project work by Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL). Initially cabling of 200 km-long stretch is required. However, cabling work has been completed only in 47-km stretch as the project is facing hurdles due to rains. The Gas pipeline laying work which has been awarded to RKD Construction firm on Sishu Bhawan-Rajmahal route is also facing the same problem, sources said.
The blamegame is on!
Though the residents have been complaining of facing inconveniences, government and civic authorities have remained a mute spectator to the menace. Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) are being blamed for the mess as the untimely administrative approval for carrying out these underground works has increased the civic woes.
The guideline of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in May this year suggested the State Government and civic bodies not to allow any drainage work or roadside trenching for any project in urban areas during Monsoon, keeping in view the possibility of urban flooding. However, the trenches on Janpath road near Ram Mandir were dug up the next month for laying of cables underground. The project work was put on halt for several days due to heavy rains and subsequent water logging. A car parked along the open trench near Shriya talkies fell into it in July. A man fell into the trench at Ashok Nagar and sustained minor injuries.
The babus speak
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Corporator for Ward no- 29 SK Nizamuddin said these slow-paced underground cabling projects were the major concern for the city ahead of the Hockey World Cup as they had been causing serious traffic inconvenience.
When contacted, Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited General Manager (Operations) Bijay Swain said instruction had been issued to all the project executing agencies to complete their pending work by September 15. A BMC official revealed that BMC authorities had decided in its corporation meeting that none of these project agencies would be allowed to dig trenches further for their project September 10 onwards due to the Hockey World Cup. The order will remain in force till December, he added.