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Dilip Kumar

Cuttack: Three days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone for the construction of the ambitious bus terminus at Cuttack on Saturday, senior BJD leader and local MP Bhartruhari Mahtab on Tuesday said the ‘Google-map aided site selection’ for the project is ill-conceived.

"I am not aware of the new bus terminus project, the foundation stone for which was laid recently by chief minister Naveen Patnaik in the city. The decision has been taken by the Chief Secretary at the Secretariat. As far as my knowledge goes, the land for the project has been identified through Google map. But, the reality is different. I have my doubts over the successful implementation of the project," he added.

Mahtab’s statement assumes significance in the backdrop of the fact that the project which had been put on hold for a long time on account of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions was finally given a go ahead by the CM with a view to ease congestion in the Millennium City and give respite to travellers.

This is also for the first time that the local MP has expressed in the open his dissatisfaction for having not been consulted before the important decision was taken for the project in his constituency.

He said a library named after Biswanath Pandit exists on the proposed project site. A Kali Temple, Sai Baba temple and cremation ground also exist on the same ground. Moreover, a government school is also functioning on the site, he said.

“Around 1200 buses enter and exit Cuttack on a daily basis. Where are the entry and exit points for such a large number of vehicles?” the MP asked.

The veteran parliamentarian further alleged that the government had not consulted with local residents and people's representatives before arriving at the decision.

"It would have been better if the project was given a go ahead following thorough discussion with locals and people's representatives. As per the data available with me, I don't think that the project could be implemented successfully," he said.

BJP also echoed similar views and said that the decision to make new bus terminus at Khan Nagar is an attempt to protect land grabbers at Goapalpur on the outskirts of the city.

“We have not opposed the proposed bus terminal, but its feasibility what has been raised by their (BJD) own party MP today. The government had initially proposed to build the bus terminus at Balikuda-Gopalpur on 40-acres land, but now has shifted the venue to Khan Nagar where only 10 acres land is available. The shifting of venue is a bid to protect the land grabbers at Goaplpur-Balikuda," said Prakash Behera, Cuttack district president of BJP.

Mahtab's party colleague in Parliament Subhas Singh, however, rubbished the allegation. He said "CM Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone after a comprehensive survey of the site. He has sanctioned Rs 65 crore for the project which is estimated to be completed within one and a half year. It's a part of the policy decision of the government, which is matter of great pride for Cuttack. We should welcome the decision."

Notably, the new bus terminus which has been named after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be constructed at a cost of Rs 65 crore. It will come up on a sprawling 12 acres land at Khan Nagar in the city.

The terminus will have motifs and paintings on Netaji''s life and his sacrifice for the country in a bid to enliven the memory of the great freedom fighter in the minds of passengers.

A three storey terminal building, regular bus bays to accommodate 180 buses at a time, space for local and ''Mo Bus'' (my bus) service, bus repair workshop and special parking lot for four-wheelers and three-wheelers, will be some of the key features of the new terminus, CM Naveen Patnaik had announced while laying the foundation stone for the project on the birth anniversary of Netaji three days ago.

The terminus will have all amenities like ticket counters, restroom, cloakroom, food court and e-vehicle charging station, rooftop rain water harvesting and solar panels, sources said.

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