The residents of the Puri district have raised questions about the administration filling up the Atharanala.
The beautification works being carried out at the historical Atharanala have not gone down well with the residents of Puri district. They have alleged the district administration is destroying the historical importance in the name of beautification.
As per the sources, about Rs 80 crore has been sanctioned to carry out beautification on the 8.7 km stretch from the Atharanala bridge to the Huluhulia bridge and for the development of the Kanchi River. Facilities like a boating club, parking space, sitting arrangements, food court, and information center would come up on the stretch.
For this, 46.609 acre land is estimated to be acquired. Of the private land, while 12.746 acres have already been acquired, 7.776 acre land is still to be acquired. Similarly, for the second phase extension project of the Musha River, a total of 62.742 acres of 11 mouzas under Puri tehsil is to be acquired. Of it, 36.984-acre land is private land, and the rest 25.758 acres is government land.
However, the residents of the Puri district have raised questions about the administration filling up the Atharanala. If the Atharanala is filled up, where the boating facility would come up, they asked.
“The prospect of the boating facility is getting dimmer as the Atharanala is being filled up with sand,” alleged Prafulla Kumar Mohapatra, a Puri resident.
Another Puri resident Jyotiranjan Sahu said, “At the time of Nabaklalebara, it was announced that the boating facility would be set up at Atharanala. Nothing has been done to resurrect the canal (Atharanala).”
Three years ago, the state government announced a package of Rs 107 crore for the resurrection and development of the Musha River. The Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation Limited (OBCC) (Division-II) is carrying out the work, but nobody knows when it will get over.
When asked, Puri district Collector, Samarth Verma said, “Under ABADHA scheme, a beautification project is underway at Atharanala. This contains the viewpoint, beautification of the bridge, and parking space. The OBCC, which is carrying out the job, has already received approval from the ASI. The committee is supervising the progress of the project. The work has already been started and we hope it would be completed soon.”