Angul / Bhubaneswar : National Highway No. 55 running from Manguli Chak till Sambalpur has seen the maximum number of fatality in the past few years. The most recent being the Bus mishap near Tukuda in Angul district of Odisha. Six persons died in the same and many injured are still in intensive care and fighting for survival. CM Naveen Patnaik was quick to announce a compensation of Rs.2,00,000/- for the kith & kin of the deceased. “This was an accident which received a lot of hype by the TV channels. Thus this compensation was announced, in several other fatalities not even small time local news papers covered it and non of the family members of the numerous deceased have ever received any Govt. aid or compensation” said a top official of the district administration while requesting anonymity.
Eminent socio-political leader and Chairman of SNSMT Shri. Suparno Satpathy has been flagging the NH 55 issue since a long time. With his intervention the UPA-1 & UPA-2 had conducted preliminary surveys and a tender too had been floated for the expansion of the said road. However, nothing happened and a new regime of Government took over in May 2014 . The Union Cabinet of the current date Modi Sarkar has already approved budgets for the expansion of the said road .The same has been approved for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) – Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model. In the same once the road is built by the contractor, the users would need to pay a Toll for using the same.
“The Dhenkanal- Angul area is a notified Government backward grant funded zone. Both the state and central Governments recognize that the residents of this area are financially challenged. Thus affixing a road usage charge will further financially burden this zone. More so there are a number of small, medium and large industries who shall reap more benefits from the expansion of this road. More so the swollen traffic flow on this road is an outcome of the ill planned industrialization, allowed by the Government to mushroom on the banks of this road. As it is, the road tax charged by Odisha Govt. is one of the highest in the country. These are a few points because of which we have apprehensions to this BOT. Throughout the country the judiciary has been intervening , setting precedence and undoing the Toll collections model. Then why must we begin on a wrong footing for this road? We welcome the steps taken by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. He has allocated budgets for this road. All that is needed is, a bit of tweaking in the construction contract of this road and things should be good” said Shri. Suparno Satpathy.
Shri. Satpathy has tweeted two photographs of the dilapidated condition of the Sarang Bridge on Brahmani River in Angul District. It was noticed by this reporter that Nitin Gadkari & Naveen Patnaik had been tagged in the same tweet.