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HC glare on Cuttack roads

Cuttack, July 31: Orissa High Court has ordered the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to file an affidavit on why its order for construction of a flyover and vehicular underpasses at six major intersections on NH-5 between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar was not complied with.

The court has ordered NHAI general manager of Odisha unit M.P.S. Rana to file the affidavit by August 10.

The division bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice M.M. Das passed the order yesterday while acting on a fresh petition by Sangram Samiti (Cuttack Sadar). The samiti alleged that the NHAI authorities had not taken any steps to implement the court order issued over five months ago.

Advocate Prasanna Kumar Panda, a member of the high court-constituted traffic management committee, also said that the NHAI had not communicated to the court the cause for non-implementation of the order.

Copies of letters submitted by an NHAI representative before the committee, however, indicated that it had accepted the high court direction for construction of vehicular underpasses at Gopalpur, Pratapnagari, Nuagarh and Telengapenth and evaluated directions related to Balikuda, Paikanagar and Bamphakuda as not feasible, Panda said.

On February 27, the division bench had ordered the NHAI to include a flyover at Balikuda and vehicular underpasses at Gopalpur, Pratapnagari, Nuagarh, Telengapenth, Paikanagar and Bamphakuda in the ongoing six-lane work after the samiti had alleged non-provisioning of underpasses and crossways at major intersections on NH-5 between the two cities.

The court had issued the direction on the basis of a report submitted by the traffic management committee constituted by it for Cuttack city.

The committee had suggested a flyover at Balikuda as “a futuristic plan”. “Construction of a flyover is the only alternative as construction of an underpass necessitated demolition of private buildings and acquisition of land because of space shortage on both sides of the road,” the report said.

Though two underpasses existed at Paikanagar and Pirabazar, the committee felt that those structures did not serve any purpose as they were always congested, narrow and waterlogged. “The two underpasses should be left for use by local cattle and a new full-fledged vehicular underpass should be constructed for the use of the public,” the report suggested.