Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: Putting an end to years of wait and changing deadlines, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today dedicated the Gurupriya bridge to thousands of tribals in cut off areas of the district who until now were dependent on the waterways for transportation and communication.

Inaugurating the project, CM Naveen called upon the Maoists to join mainstream and road to development. "Come, enter the path of progress and peace," said Patnaik during the inauguration.

Barring a few incidents of protest, the event passed off without any major hindrance.  At DMK chhak in the  district a group of women activists from the Congress showed black flags opposing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's visit for the inauguration.

Similarly, at Chitrakonda, locals of 3 panchayats of Chitrakonda - Kopatuti , Paplur and Kurumanur gagged  their mouth with black cloth and staged protest alleging non-issuance of caste certificate to students . The protesters alleged that non issuance of certificates was affecting education of their wards.

Around six platoons force had been deployed in areas close to the Gurupriya Bridge. This apart, District Voluntary Force (DVF) and Special Operations Group (SOG) had been positioned and the nearby hilly areas are dominated by BSF.

Works Minister Prafulla Mallick said, “The Bridge will act as a lifeline for as many as 30,000 people as they all will get connected to each other. The Chief Minister is also scheduled to inaugurate several developmental projects during his visit.”

Though the inauguration of the bridge was scheduled on July 18, it was postponed for an indefinite period due to bad weather and later finalised to be inaugurated on July 26.

It was also thrown open for public on July 18. However, heavy vehicles were not allowed to ply on the bridge.