Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Residents of Krushnaprasad area near Chilika are finally breathing a sigh of relief as they will no longer be forced to undertake dangerous journeys through the huge lake for their daily communication. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has recently announced to build two big bridges over Chilika Lake without hampering the marine habitat. The two bridges will be like signature bridges under Bharatmala project.

As per reports, a Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been prepared for the bridges that will connect Satapada and Janhikuda. The construction work will start after three months. Following the completion of the bridge, the local people will not have to rely on floating bridge vessels and motor-run boats anymore. These vessels often dangerously get stuck amid the vast lake posing a threat to the lives of the passengers.

As many as two signature bridges will be reportedly built to connect Satapada and Berhampur island and Mahinsha to Janhikuda. The length of both bridges will be three kms without having any pillars. The bridges will also connect National Highway No.316 and 516-A. Communication between Puri and Ganjam will be improved due to the bridges. 

Earlier, an initial DPR was prepared and presented before Union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in 2021. An initial budget of Rs 659 crore was estimated in the DPR. However, a new DPR has been prepared on February 15. Meanwhile, Gadkari has announced that the construction of the special bridges will start after three months.

“Both the bridges will be of 1.5 km length each. The circle and connectivity will be completed by connecting NH No. 516 A on Janhikuda side to NH No.316 on Satapada side. People will not face any problems in communication anymore,” said BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra.

There are as many as 21 gram panchayats under Krushnaprasad block in Brahmagiri constituency. Moreover, 14 gram panchayats are near Chilika lake. Residents of as many as 92 villages near the lake have to go through lots of hardships and struggle in their daily communication to earn their livelihood. To reach the mainland, the villagers have to cross five kms through Chilka lake which has always been a risky affair. During storms, cyclones and mechanical problems, the boats often get stuck inside the lake and the commuters face threats to their lives.

The local residents near Chilika have expressed their pleasure over the development. 

“Thousands of people in the area are going through lots of hardships in their daily communication and there is always a threat to their lives while crossing Chilka in boats.  Once the construction of the bridges completed, the people of the area will be greatly benefitted. We are hopeful that the construction work of the bridges will finish soon,” said Sarat Chandra Palei, a resident of Krushnaprasad.

“The signature bridges will be of immenesley beneficial to the people in the area. Tourism industries will flourish and the economic condition of the locals will improve after the construction of the bridges,” said Sarat Raiguru, Secretary of Janhikuda-Satapada Bridge Construction Committee.