Gurupriya bridge: Odisha urges Centre to release fund

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has requested the Centre to release funds to expedite the construction work of Gurupriya bridge in naxal-infested Malkangiri district.

Odisha Public Works department has urged the Union Home Ministry to release Rs 142.25 crore of the estimated Rs 167 crore project work. Notably Rs 24.31 crore has already been spent in the 910-metre construction work which started in April this year.

In September after reviewing the work, Development Commissioner U N Behera had said construction work of the bridge would be completed by the end of 2016.

The bridge at Gurupriya would provide connectivity to 20,000 inhabitants of the area housing 151 villages. The villages, across the Balimela reservoir in the district, have remained cut-off from the mainland for around five decades.

The foundation stone for a bridge at Gurupriya was laid way back in 1982 by the then chief minister J B Patnaik and again by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2000.

Initially, the construction work was assigned to the Odisha Bridge Construction Corporation (OBCC). Officials said a Kolkata-based firm has got the contract to construct the bridge, connecting Janbai North with Janbai South, with an estimated cost of Rs 172.58 crore in next three years.