Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Construction work of a Buddha Park in Manamunda area under Boudh district is in the doldrums for a long time now triggering apprehension among local people that lakhs of rupees granted for the project have been embezzled.

Boudh district is named after Lord Budhha. In a bid to glorify lord Budhha in the district and attract tourists, former Collector Lalatendu Mishra had conceptualised the ‘Buddha Park’ last year. Subsequently, construction work for the park at Manamunda near the bank of Tel river was undertaken. A total amount of Rs 30 lakh including Rs 20 lakh under Regulated Market Committee (RMC) and Rs 10 lakh under MGNREGA was granted for the park.

The construction work started on a war footing and the park was inaugurated by the then Collector on July 28, 2022, even before the completion of its construction work. 

Local people alleged that the remaining construction work couldn’t be completed and poor work has been carried out due to corruption.

“The park has not been fully completed. Lakhs of rupees have been spent without any result. Almost all the plants have withered without water. The walls and floors have been soiled without proper maintenance. I have come with my family to spend some time in the park. But, it's quite frustrating to see its poor condition,” said Sadananda Guru, a resident of Manamunda.

“Some of the construction work has been damaged. Trees and creepers have been dried due to poor maintenance. The project is a complete failure and waste of money,” said Jagannath Bagha, another resident of Manamunda.

Kantamala block administration is currently undertaking the construction activities in the park. However, the alleged substandard work of the half-constructed park has raised a question mark over the intention behind it. Lawn and flower plants of the park have dried up due to lack of water and proper maintenance. Guard walls, cement chairs and benches, irrigation and illumination facilities have been completely damaged.

As per the locals, the park has been damaged due to poor construction work because of corruption.

“Buddha Park has been completely damaged. Miscreants are only found roaming there. We urge the administration to reconstruct the park and beautify it for public use,” said Premlal Saha,” said a local resident.

“No information about the amount of expenditure has been displayed near the park. However, it is expected that around Rs 40 lakh has been spent on the construction of the park. But, the construction work has not been fully completed yet. Due to lack of proper maintenance, things inside the park have completely gone haywire. If proper care is not given, the whole construction will be washed away by flood water,” said Baidyanath Hota, an intellectual.
Resentment is brewing among local people over the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the Kantamala block administration in the construction work of the park.

Manamunda Sarpanch Ranju Behera has demanded that the remaining construction work of the project should be completed at the earliest.

“The park is yet to be fully constructed. Moreover, the half-built park has been damaged further due to lack of proper maintenance. The then Collector’s dream has been shattered. I request the block administration to complete the construction of the park fully so that the local people of the area will be benefitted,” said Behera.

However, the comments of Kantamala BDO and Boudh Collector could not be obtained in this regard.

  • Reported by:
  • Rabindra Hota