Election 2024: From urban flooding to city beautification, Bhubaneswar finds issue galore

Shoddy waste management by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation which led to creation of a giant waste hill, sending a stinker across the city, remains a key matter.
BJD flag used for representational purposes only.
BJD flag used for representational purposes only.

BHUBANESWAR: What's going to be the raging election issue in Bhubaneswar? As the state gears up for the polls, and the battle for the capital’s three constituencies intensifies, political parties devise strategy to shape the discourse.

Will it be about law and order, poor waste management, urban flooding and nagging mosquito menace for the Opposition political parties?

Or will the BJD showcase the housing projects under Jaga Mission, dazzling Baba Saheb Amebdkar Bus Terminal and much-hyped Metro Rail apart from other infrastructure and beautification projects to make its point?

As candidates begin their campaign with gusto, the promises kept and failures take center stage in the assembly constituencies of Bhubaneswar North, Central and Ekamra.

The ruling BJD which has retained the coveted seats for over a decade strives to shift the narrative towards development initiatives it has undertaken for the transformation of the city whereas the Opposition looks at the flip side. Or the electorate though, there are issues galore. Shoddy waste management by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation which led to creation of a giant waste hill, sending a stinker across the city, remains a key matter.

“Despite repeated demands to relocate the temporary transit station (TTS) near Sainik School where piling up of garbage has led to creation of a trash hill, the civic body is adamant in its decision of processing the waste at the same site. The government intervention also appears to be ineffective. With the election drawing near, we will meet political parties soon and make it clear that our vote will go to the candidate who gives priority this local issue,” said Sura Patra, a resident and leader of Gadakan Anchalika Unnayan Parishad.

Like Parta, locals in Nandan Vihar allege that waste disposal has emerged as a major concern. “Residents even staged a protest seeking its immediate shifting as foul smell from the site has made lives miserable,” said Bijaylaxmi Samal, a resident. Residents of Baramunda echo similar sentiments.

If waste management is a huge issue, urban flooding is going to be another major poll plank as it has occupied voters’ mind space for long. From Nayapalli to Old Town and Jayadev Vihar to Bomikhal, the problem of urban flooding during monsoon has been a nagging issue that the state government has found difficult to resolve with climate change exacerbating the crisis.

“Waterlogging has remained unresolved and emerged as a major crisis. We will ask candidates how they plan to resolve this when they approach us,” said a local trader from Ratha road. Residents of Jagannath Nagar flag tardy pace of sewerage line and poor drainage network whereas in Saheed Nagar and Chandrasekharpur, people want candidates to improve sanitation to check dengue. While both BJP and Congress look to bank on these local issues, the ruling party will have an array of development works to win the trust of the electorate.

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The New Indian Express