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CIMA Gallary

Location hazards fail to bridge gap

(From top) Foundation stones for the foot overbridges near Ramadevi Women’s College, Jayadev Vihar and Master Canteen Square in Bhubaneswar. Sources say the foundation stones were laid in a hurry even before Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had finalised exact locations for the foot overbridges. Problems in identifying the location and procuring land have now raised questions about the future of these proposed foot overbridges. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 7: The foundation stones for three foot overbridges here were laid more than a year ago. But till date, no one knows where these promised overbridges would be built.

Sources in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the foundation stones were laid in a hurry without any consultations with other government agencies.

The civic body had laid foundations stones near Ramadevi Women’s College, Jayadev Vihar and Master Canteen Square in August last year.

The corporation has already signed an agreement with a private partner to build the overbridges. All the three overbridges will be set up in public-private partnership mode.

The corporation constituted a five-member committee last month to finalise the exact locations for the overbridges. The committee will interact with other departments such as traffic, Bhubaneswar Development Authority, Central Electricity Service Utility, the general administration and works department (roads) to identify the locations.

A corporation source said BMC was forced to constitute the committee because it laid the foundation stones in a hurry without any communication with the agencies concerned.

“The plot near Jayadev Vihar was later found to be a private land. So, the BMC decided to tentatively shift the location 100 meters in both directions from the plot where the foundation stone was laid,” said a senior corporation official, pleading anonymity.

The officials are tight-lipped about the exact location of the other two overbridges near Ramadevi Women’s College and Master Canteen Square, as both the locations are likely to be changed.

This has raised questions about the future of these overbridges, which have become a necessity for pedestrians in a city increasingly populated by cars. Councillors have also alleged that the hasty foundation laying was a publicity stunt.

“The corporation must have identified the exact locations before finalising the tender. It is unbelievable that the civic body is selecting sites after signing an agreement with the private party,” said a councillor of the ruling party.

According to the agreement, each overbridge will be developed for Rs 2.5 crore.

The private enterprise will bear the construction and maintenance cost along with collecting revenue from the advertisement space on the foot overbridges. Sources said the civic body would get Rs 5.3 lakh annually from the private enterprise.

Deputy commissioner of BMC Krushna Prasad Pati said the identification of location and finalisation of drawings and designs would be completed by December 15.

The foot overbridges near Master Canteen Square and Jayadev Vihar will have lifts. The one near Ramadevi Women’s College will have a ramp for pedestrians.

All the foot overbridges will have two staircases, drinking water facilities, barricades and dustbins. The carrying capacity of the each lift will be at least 13 passengers.