As part of his government’s effort to transform Puri into a world class heritage city, it was announced infrastructure development projects worth Rs 500 crore with focus on connectivity, tourist amenities, revival of water bodies and renovation of century-old mathas.
The state government’s announcement coincided with Janmashtami, birthday of Lord Krishna.
Among the major infrastructure projects, the state government has planned:
- a new road link from Puri bypass to the historic Jagannath Ballav Matha on the Grand Road in the city, which had suffered massive damage in cyclone Fani.
The 1.5 km iconic link named as Shree Setu project is aimed to decongest the town by providing a direct link to pilgrims by connecting the national highway to the Grand Road. The link will be connected by a trumpet bridge, which is a first of its kind in Odisha. Around Rs 190 crore will be spent for the project.
- The Jagganath Ballav Matha, spread across 55 acres, will be developed as an attractive pilgrim centre with an investment of Rs 180 crore. A multi-level car parking, tourist amenities, commercial space, meditation centre and multi-modal hub is planned over 5.5 acres while plantation will be done in the remaining areas.
As the state government has decided to clear all structures within 75 metre from the temple boundary wall, it has been decided that the affected mathas which will be redeveloped with government assistance. The Jagannath Temple administration will also extend financial help to some mathas, engaged in propagating Jagannath culture.
- The Musa river near the town will be revived and interlinked to Mangala river at a cost of Rs 85 crore. To the existing 2.5 km of the river, another 2.3 km will be extended by developing a lake to connect it to Mangala river.
Massive dredging and desilting activities will be taken up to remove weeds from the water body and to make it accessible and ensure free flow of water. To address issues related to effluents and pollution, a sewage treatment plant will also be set up along the river front.
According to government’s plan, the lake which will be developed on 20 acres of land will also have recreational opportunities by providing access along the waterfront for pedestrians and bicyclists. Plantation activities will also be taken up to check environmental degradation.
- The state government will also renovate other heritage lakes in Puri like Sweta Ganga, Markanda Pokahari, Narendra Pokhari and Indradyumna Pokhari.
- The historic Atharnala bridge at the entrance of the town will be developed as an iconic pedestrian heritage bridge with the support of Archeological Survey of India.
All these projects will be implemented under the Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture at Puri (ABADHA) scheme. The Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation would implement the projects within two years. Recently, the state government has also announced Rs 265 crore package for the holy town. That include two multi-level car parkings, a Lok Seva Bhawan to bring all government offices under one roof, development of municipal market complex and redevelopment of Acharya Harihar Square. As the state government had faced flak from various quarters over poor implementation of projects ahead of the Nabakalebara-2015, the state administration has made massive exercise to ground all the recently-announced projects as bringing visible changes in Puri can help the government to draw national attention.