Motorcyclists during a trial vehicular run on the bridge. Picture by Badrika Nath Das
Cuttack, July 16: The three-lane bridge over Kathajodi river to ease traffic congestion on NH-5 that connects the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar will be inaugurated on July 19. The bridge will be named after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The bridge, which is said to be longest and first-of-its-kind three-lane bridge in the state, has been much awaited as it would act as a "direct link" between the twin cities.
"Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has agreed to inaugurate the bridge on July 19 and has accepted the proposal to name the bridge after Netaji," Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debashis Samantaray told The Telegraph today.
Samantaray claimed that the proposal was submitted by him stating that "naming the bridge after Netaji Subash Chandra Bose would be apt and fitting tribute to one of the foremost freedom fighters, who was also born in Cuttack and spent the first 16 years of his life there".
Speaking to The Telegraph, Cuttack collector Nirmal Chandra Mishra said: "The state government has decided to inaugurate the bridge on July 19 and name it after Netaji. However, I am yet to receive any written communication on it." The state works department's roads and buildings division constructed the 2.88-km-long bridge from near the Odisha Judicial Academy in Cuttack to Trishulia near Barang with the assistance of National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development Bank at a cost of Rs 108 crores.
"The bridge is ready to be thrown open to the public. But, we are yet to receive any communication about the inauguration programme and naming of the bridge", roads and buildings (Cuttack division) executive engineer M.R. Khan said today.
"The bridge - the second such facility on Kathajodi - is expected to ease traffic congestion on NH-5 as it will reduce the distance between twin cities from 30km to 20km," said assistant commissioner of police (traffic), Cuttack, Pradeep Kumar Dalai.
According to an estimate, more than 50,000 vehicles ply through NH-5 between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar everyday.
"At present, it takes around 45 minutes to one hour to cover the distance of 30km from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar. With the construction of the bridge over, one would have to cover a distance of only 20km from CDA Square to Jayadev Vihar via Trishulia and Nandankanan," said Satyajit Roy, a resident of Bidanasi and daily commuter to the capital.
"The three-lane bridge would not only save precious time of the people but also create avenues for development in the nearby areas and residents of Barang," said Prafulla Mohanty, who had come up his own house at Trishulia since the bridge project had started five years ago.
"We are happy that the state government has decided to name the bridge after Netaji. But, we would have been happier if the government had approved our proposal to name the bridge after celebrated singer-composer Akshaya Mohanty," said Deepak Nayak, a member of the Odisha Student Leaders' Forum.
The forum had earlier urged the chief minister to name the bridge after Mohanty, who passed away in 2002.
The forum had launched the movement after Prime Minister Narendra Modi named the 9.15-km-long Dhola-Sadiya bridge in Assam named after legendary singer the late Bhupen Hazarika on May 26.