Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though only four days have been left for the opening of the Srimandir Parikrama Project (Srimandir Heritage Corridor project) in Puri, construction of ‘Sri Marg’ is yet to be completed. Meanwhile, local residents have expressed dissatisfaction over the alleged shoddy work done in haste ahead of the mega opening of the project on January 17, 2024.

The district administration had earlier assured that all the works of the Srimandir Parikrama Project would be completed by January 12. However, many works are yet to be completed. As per reports, paver blocks are still being installed on 800 metres of Sri Marg. Moreover, a huge amount of sand is still piled on the spot.

Several local residents have alleged that as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will cross Sri Marg on his way to Srimandir to inaugurate the Srimandir Parikrama Project on January 17, effort is underway to complete the project by any means as soon as possible while compromising the quality of work.

“The administration is trying to finish the project in haste ahead of its opening on January 17. However, the quality of the work is very poor. We are not satisfied with the quality of work,” said Laxmidhar Sahu, a local resident.

Similarly, the construction work of the welcome gate of ‘Sri Setu’ is yet to be completed as per the set target. However, taking stock of the situation on the spot, Puri Collector Samarth Verma said that Sri Marg work will be completed either on Friday night or by Saturday.

“Sri Marg work will be completed either on Friday night or by Saturday. Paver block work has almost been completed. Streetlights will be set up soon. Sri Setu work has been fully completed. We have done all the beautification and cleaning work of Srimandir Parikrama Project,” said Verma.

A target was set for Odisha Bridge & Construction Corporation Limited (OBCC) to hand over the fully completed Srimandir Parikrama Project to the district administration on January 11. However, the work is still going on, sources said.

As per reports, all the beautification work is being done on a war footing. While the ‘Bada Danda’ has been adorned with ‘Jhoti Chita’ (traditional Odia art), the stretch from the Yajna Mandapa towards all the four Dwaras (doors) of Srimandir has been decorated with flowers.

On the other hand, evicted vendors and businessmen have expressed their dissatisfaction over the development.

“After the eviction drive, we were assured of shops near Jagannath Ballabh. However, construction work is still going on at the place even one and a half months after the eviction. We are yet to start our business and our livelihood is at stake. We are completely helpless and clueless,” said a businessman.

However, no response has been received from the district administration regarding the allegations.
 

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