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Hurdle over road near CM home

A transformer that impedes traffic on the busy Palaspalli- airport junction road and
(below) a traffic bottleneck in front of Naveen Nivas. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati and Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, May 5: Lack of coordination between the state government and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has stalled expansion of the road in front of Naveen Nivas. The stretch joins the airport junction with Palaspalli.

In February last year, the public works department had planned to construct an additional 455-metre road parallel to the existing one to built a diversion through the airport boundary area.

The proposed road is expected to ease traffic movement near Naveen Nivas, particularly when political activities make the thoroughfare inaccessible to commuters. In case of a security need, the existing stretch could be barricaded and commuters diverted through the proposed road.

“We are facing difficulty in negotiating the stretch when the area gets busy with political activities. A traffic diversion would ensure smooth movement,’’ said Ratnakar Behera, a resident of Bhimatangi, who takes the road to reach Forest Park everyday.

While land from the AAI is crucial to the project, shifting transformers that dot the roadside is also important.

“Several transformers are located dangerously at several places along the road and there is every possibility of a major mishap happening any day,’’ said Chhabindra Jena of Kapila Prasad.

Executive engineer, PWD, Bhubaneswar (Division-II), Prashant Kumar Patra said: “I had heard from my predecessor that a plan was initiated by our department. The proposal is pending with the AAI.”

Though Patra claims that the matter is pending with the AAI, director of Biju Patnaik Airport Sharad Kumar lays the blame with the state government.

Talking about the proposed project, Kumar said: “We are aware of such a plan. It is also included in the master plan of the city airport. However, the state government is yet to submit its proposal to execute the plan.’’

That AAI land is crucial to the plan in borne out in what the superintending engineer of Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) Sukanta Kumar Swain says.

Shifting the transformers can only be possible if AAI gives land to widen the road, he said. “The transformers are indeed exposing commuters to danger,’’ Swain said.

Sources, however, said officials of the PWD, the Cesu, the general administration department and the AAI had met to discuss the issue of land transfer to expand the road. According to the plan, the AAI will provide one acre and 125 decimal land for the project and it will be compensated with a similar piece of land along Kargil Road.

The proposed expansion of the road is vital from the security point of view as on December 17, 2012, nearly 50 farmers were arrested in front of the residence of the chief minister. After that incident, barricades were installed at several points of the road. Once the diversion plan is executed, commuters will have the option to access a barricade-free alternative road in the high-security zone.