BHUBANESWAR:After missing the deadline several times and going through the formality of foundation stone laying twice, Gurupriya Setu, connecting cut-off areas of Malkangiri district is likely to be dedicated to the people next month.
Announcing this at a media conference here on Monday, Works Minister Prafulla Mallik said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will inaugurate the bridge next month. The bridge will be dedicated to the people in June, Mallik said and added that there has been no cost escalation due to the delay. The bridge, for which foundation stone was first laid by former Chief Minister JB Patnaik in 1982 and again by Naveen Patnaik in 2000, has cost the exchequer Rs 170 crore.
The 910-metre bridge is expected to resolve all the problems of communication for around 30,000 people of nearly 150 villages in the cut-off regions in and around Kalimela and Chitrakonda reservoirs. It had been separated from the mainland in 1964 when the reservoir was created for the Balimela hydel project.
Maoists have been opposing construction of the project from the beginning for which it changed hands of contractors several times. The bridge project is being executed by Kolkata-based Royal Infraconstru Limited under round-the-clock security from BSF jawans, who are camping a few hundred metres from the site to ward off possible Maoist attacks.
Keeping in view the Maoist threat, security has been tightened along with round-the-clock surveillance through CCTV cameras to protect the bridge.Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi recently reviewed the project’s progress and asked officials to complete it by February. The earlier deadline for the project was June, 2017. The project was entrusted to the present contractor in October 2014.
Link to cut-off areas
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to dedicate the bridge to the people in June
Foundation stone first laid by former CM JB Patnaik in 1982
Naveen Patnaik laid the stone in 2000
No cost escalation to the exchequer
Rs 170 crore due to delay in the works
30,000 people of 150 villages in Kalimela and Chitrakonda reservoirs to benefit from the 910-m bridge