Bhubaneswar, Sept. 1: The chief minister and his cabinet colleague today inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for a slew of projects, bypassing violation of the model code of conduct simply by not making speeches while doing so.
The occasion was the 31st foundation day of the development authority. At least six projects were dedicated to the public while foundation stones were laid for three housing schemes on the outskirts of the city.
Since the model code of conduct is in force in view of the urban polls, chief minister Naveen Patnaik and housing and urban development minister Debi Prasad Mishra did not make any speeches while inaugurating the projects.
Sources said that the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) had directions from the state election commissioner that the chief minister and his cabinet colleague could carry out the inauguration spree as long as they did not make public speeches to avoid violating the model code of conduct that was in place for the polls to be held to 66 urban local bodies in the state on September 19.
Senior Congress leader Kailash Acharya said: “The inaugurations are tantamount to violation of the model code of conduct. Though the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is not going to polls, urban local bodies on its peripheral areas are. We will bring this to the notice of the state election commissioner.”
However, the BJD denied the allegations. BJD’s Ekamra-Bhubaneswar MLA Ashok Chandra Panda said: “We have got necessary permission from the Election Commission. This is part of the programme of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority. No advertisement was issued and no pubic meeting was held.”
Among the projects inaugurated today was the much-awaited depot-cum-bus terminal for the city bus service at Pokhariput. The terminal became operational from today, almost three years after inception of the project.
The bus terminal, which has been set up on 4.5 acres, has 9,000sqft parking area for around 125 buses. Chief engineer-cum-engineering member of the development authority Jayamangal Nayak said: “Around Rs 3 crore has been spent on this terminal.”
A park spread across 20 acres was inaugurated in Gadhakan and named after famous Odissi dancer, the late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. The development authority authorities said they had spent Rs 1.75 crore on the park.
Two market complexes at K7 in Kalinga Nagar and Pokhariput were also inaugurated. They were built at a cost of Rs 3.55 crore and Rs 1.06 crore respectively. Besides, a two-storey Kalyan mandap costing Rs 2.15 crore at K7 in Kalinga Nagar and a colony park at Kapila Prasad were also inaugurated.
Foundation stones for three affordable housing projects for economically weaker section (EWS), lower income groups (LIG) and lower middle-income groups (LMIG) were laid by the chief minister at Kalinga Nagar and Subudhipur on the outskirts of the city.
Vice-chairman of the development authority Vishal Dev said the biggest among these projects is the one at Subudhipur, which will spread across a 7-acre plot. It will have 11 floors with 800 EWS and 800 LIG houses. The project cost has been estimated at Rs 165 crore.
At K4 in Kalinga Nagar, another project spread across 3.52 acres will be eight-storeys high and have 192 LIG and 136 LMIG flats. The project cost is Rs 56 crore. The foundation stone was also laid for a project at K9(B) in Kalinga Nagar. This one will have 128 EWS and 32 LIG flats. The project, spread across 1.59 acres, will cost the BDA Rs 15.83 crore. “We will bear all the cost of these housing projects,” said Dev.