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BJP, BJD workers clash over statue inauguration

Berhampur: Tension erupted in the Silk city of Berhampur today after a section of BJP and BJD workers clashed during inauguration ceremony of the statue of Swabhab Kavi Gangadhar Meher.

Tourism Minister Ashok Panda was in the city to unveil the statue on Monday. During the inauguration, BJP workers started shouting slogans demanding installation of the statue of Kabi Surya Baladeb Rath and Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja.

“The statue of Swabhab Kavi was installed as per an earlier decision of the State government. Statues of the Kabi Surya and Kabi Samrat will also be installed in the city,” said Panda.

“I have sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the infrastructural development of Bhanja Bhumi Sadhana Pitha at Kulada and also Rs 50 lakh towards the development of Maa Nija Bankeswari Temple and Mahuri Kalua Temple here,” said Panda.

The government has big plans for the Tampara Lake. The lake will be developed by spending around Rs 80 crore for tourism purpose, added the minister while replying to a question on the government’s stand on Tampara.

“We are not opposing Swabhab Kavi Gangadhar Meher but as a resident of Ganjam district, we are hurt that the statues of legends from our region Kabi Surya Baladeb Rath and Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja are yet to be installed here. We condemn the move and the government’s oversight,” said Forum for Ganjam convenor Sudhir Rout.

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Besides, the foundation-stone of Sanskriti Bhawan here was laid in 2005 and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated it nine months ago, but no further development has been taken up yet, added Rout.

The statue of Gangadhar Meher was installed as part of the legend’s 150th birth anniversary, said Berhampur BJD MLA Ramesh Chandra Chau Patnaik, adding, “I condemn BJP’s move to politicise developmental works like this.”

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