|Vehicular traffic at the national highway in bhubaneswar. (Right) the jagannath temple in puri. Telegraph pictures
Bhubaneswar, April 26: The transport network between Bhubaneswar and Puri is set to become stronger before the Nabakalebara festival in 2015.
This was discussed at a meeting of the Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) today. While suggesting ways to improve the existing transport system between Bhubaneswar and Puri, the authorities felt that they needed to prepare a comprehensive mobility plan. Chief secretary Bijay Patnaik chaired the meeting.
During the meeting, housing and urban development (HUD) secretary Saurabh Garg said: “Steps would be taken to improve the transport system in Bhubaneswar and Puri, apart from Cuttack, before the Nabakalebara festival in Puri in 2015.”
The state government is expecting over 50 lakh devotees to turn up in Puri to witness the Nabakalebara festival, literally meaning reincarnation ceremony of the deities where the existing idols of the trinity — Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra — are replaced with new ones. According to myth, deities, just like humans, go through circles of birth and death and are reborn every 18 years.
Garg said: “Taking into account the expected turnout, special schemes would be implemented to streamline the transport system.”
As per plans, every route connecting Puri with Bhubaneswar and Konark would be developed so that pilgrims would not face any sort of problem on their way to Puri during the Nabakalebara festival.
The UMTA, which was constituted 18 months ago, tried to identify and approve proposed investment plans for revamping transport system in Bhubaneswar and Puri. It has also asked RITES, a government of India enterprise, to submit a detailed project report in this regard. RITES provides comprehensive engineering, consultancy and project management services in the transport infrastructure sector.
“We have decided to go for more projects in public private participation (PPP) mode, with minimum contribution being borne by the government,” said Sanjeeb Mishra, joint secretary, HUD.
The RITES enterprise, which was engaged by the HUD for preparing a detailed project report in order to develop the “identified bus rapid transit system” in Bhubaneswar, submitted its business modules today which has two components — closed circuit and, partially closed and partially opened system.
Mishra said the government was planning to adopt the second component for the development of the transport system in the capital city.
“For the closed circuit component, there is a plan to invest Rs 500 crore. In the second system, Rs 700 crore would be spent to develop a smooth transport system in Bhubaneswar,” he added.
Six corridors have been identified for this purpose — Heads of Departments (the nine-storeyed building) to KIIT University in Patia, city airport to Nuagaon, Rasulgarh to Ravi Talkies, Rasulgarh to Khandagiri, Sishu Bhavan to Vani Vihar and Kalpana Square to Ravi Talkies.
“All the corridors and bus terminals would be developed under PPP mode. Although earlier the government of India was reluctant to support the project, it has now shown keen interest,” Mishra said.
As per the business module, while the ground floor of the bus terminal would be used as the bus stand, the first and second floors would be used for commercial purposes. “Only through PPP, the project can be worked out,” officials said.
Earlier, RITES had submitted the report on bus rapid transit system, which was discussed in a steering committee meeting chaired by the chief secretary on July 8 last year. In that meeting, it was decided that that RITES would prepare a business model on the investment.
The government of India enterprise had also proposed to introduce a mono-railway system in Cuttack. “However, keeping an eye on the huge investment involved in the project, we did not accept the proposal,” said an official.