Pradeep Pattanayak

A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction for early completion of the JICA box drain work in Cuttack has been filed in the Orissa High Court. State president of Hindu Sena, Debasis Rout filed the PIL on Thursday. 

In the PIL filed by Rout, the Urban Development Department’s Secretary, the General Administration Department’s Secretary, authorities of the project implementation agency JICA, the Cuttack district Collector and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) Commissioner have been made parties. 

In the petition, the petitioner stated that the project was started in 2012, and as per the memorandum of understanding; it should have been completed in four years. Even though 12 years have passed, the project is yet to be completed. Because of this project, the condition of the roads has become worse. 

This year alone, four people have lost their lives due to this project. It has also been alleged that temporary and unregistered labourers are being engaged in the project work to avoid paying compensation in case of injuries or deaths at work. 

“The JICA director had filed an affidavit saying the project would be completed by the end of 2021. But the project has not yet been completed. Due to the construction work, people are suffering a lot. They are digging up roads which resulted in accidents, leaving people injured and sometimes dead. In 2023, the project has claimed four lives,” said Padmalaya Mohapatra, petitioner’s advocate. 

“The rainwater was on the road, blurring the difference between the road and the drain. He fell into the drain and died. I want compensation and the authorities to complete the drain work so that precious lives can be saved,” said Bunty Chouhan, relative of a drain mishap victim.

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