Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The State government today announced to spend Rs 500 crore on various infrastructure development projects in the heritage town Puri. A decision regarding this was taken at a high-level review meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Minster Naveen Patnaik at the Lok Seva Bhawan here.

The infrastructural developments include construction of new roads, bridges and parking lots in the pilgrim city.

As part of the developmental activities, Sri Setu’, a bridge connecting Malatipatpur to Jagannath Ballav mutt would be built at the cost of Rs 190 crore. This apart, a multi-storey parking place at Jagannath Ballav mutt, meditation centre for 10,000 people and market complex will be built in the city at an expenditure of Rs 180 crore.

A decision for relocation of mutts, houses and shops falling under the Srimandir Security zone has also been taken during the meeting. The State government will ensure renovation of the relocated mutts under the ‘ABADHA’ scheme and also provide compensation to house owners and shopkeepers who would be evicted from the security zone, a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office stated.

A budget of Rs 85 crore has also been sanctioned for linking of Musa and Mangala rivers and development of tourism along the bank of Musa River. This apart, Rs 5 crore has been approved for beautification of Atharanala.

Among others, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, Law Minister Pratap Jena, Puri Collector Balwant Singh and SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar were present in the meeting.

Former BJD MLA from Puri, Maheswar Mohanty has welcomed the decision of the Odisha CM saying, "Chief Minister has announced the special package in a move to turn Puri into a world heritage site. I welcome the decision of the CM and hope people who are affected with this get necessary aid as compensation."

On the other hand, Puri BJP MLA Jayant Sarangi said, "Both Centre and the State government want development of Puri. As long as people do not face any problem, we welcome  the move as we have always stood by the people and their demands."

It is pertinent to mention here that earlier this month, the Chief Minister had approved five projects worth Rs 265 crore for the pilgrim city.