Work on Kusei bridge to begin tomorrow amid heavy security

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Anandpur: The construction work of a new bridge on Kusei river near Belabahali village of Anandpur sub division in Keonjhar district would begin tomorrow amid tight security.

Informing this to the media today, Keonjhar collector N Thirumala Nayak said elaborate security arrangements have been made at the proposed construction site. Besides, efforts are on to bring all construction equipment to the site by this evening so that the work can start from tomorrow as scheduled.

“Twenty platoons of armed policemen would be deployed near the construction site in the presence of five local magistrates. To ensure uninterrupted work, Section 144 has been clamped in the area,” Nayak added.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had decided to begin the construction work today, but postponed it to tomorrow since adequate security forces could not be mobilised in time.

“In fact, the construction work should have started much earlier. But it could not begin due to the protest by the villagers. We had planned to begin work today. But as there was no police protection, we have decided to begin work from tomorrow after getting assurance from the district administration,” Rajesh Hardas, Project Director, NHAI, had told media persons last night.

Notably, the people of Belabahali and nearby villages had clashed with the police on July 7 last year while protesting the decision of the NHAI and the district administration to construct a new bridge on NH-215. Supporting the demand of the villagers, the Congress and the BJP had also protested the construction of the proposed bridge.

While the villagers were hopeful that their demand for relocation of the bridge site would be considered, a notification for construction of a new bridge by the Centre issued on June 15 has put paid to any such hope.

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