Here’s Bhubaneswar’s lookbook for Asian Athletics Championship

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Monalisa Patsani, OP

Bhubaneswar, May 16: 700 athletes, 45 countries and the desire to win—This July, the smart city will witness the real heat. The temple city will become the epicenter of action, performance and speed. In a first, the city will be hosting the 22nd Asian Athletic Championship—thanks to Ranchi’s pull out. Keeping this in mind, the authorities have pulled up their shocks to give some quick makeover to Bhubaneswar to welcome the participants and delegates from the continent. We did our bit of investigation to find out the beautification plans by various departments for the continental event. Hence, Orissa Post brings you all that’s in- making for the championship. The beautification process has already started not just for Kalinga Stadium, but also for some other parts of the city.

Makeover: From Governor’s House to Nandankanan

If sources are to be believed, there’s going to a massive plantation drive across the city. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Authority (BMC) is on its toes to revamp the entire stretch from governor house to Nandankanan. The BMC officials claimed that they are trying to make the stretch attractive.

Intelligent Traffic system

“The beautification work is being carried out for the upcoming event. It is also a part of the overall smart city project. Installation of around 20 scientific automatic or intelligent traffic systems along the stretch from Governor’s House to Nandankanan is going on. It will be completed soon. There is a proposal to repaint the art works on Jayadev Vihar flyover near the square. The decision is yet to be taken. The Asian Athletic Championship is a very big event and we want to finish all the work before the event,” said a BMC official. ATS refers to the integration of technology into the traffic management system to improve the flow of vehicles. It often includes availability of real-time traffic data from cameras and speed sensors.

Green cover for Stadium

The renovation work of Kalinga Stadium has already started. It is expected to be completed by 10 June. “Around 5000 trees will be planted across the stadium. The stadium will have landscaping and vertical gardens as well. The designs for these have been finalized. The work will start soon. The work is being done by Orissa Forest Development Corporation,” said Bedabandhu Mishra, additional sports secretary of the Sports and Youth Department. “We are removing all the old chairs from the stadium. The old red chairs will be replaced with new ones. The seats will now be arranged in an interesting sequence of red and blue to please the eyes,” he added.

Pathway for elevators being constructed at Kalinga Stadium

Pathway for elevators being constructed at Kalinga Stadium

For ‘special’ visitors

There is also a focus on making the stadium accessible to the differently-abled persons. “We have started constructing ramps and pathways for lifts to help the differently-abled. Earlier, there was a ramp in the ground floor only. But, now we are constructing a ramp to reach other floors as well. There will be two lifts in the stadium,” added Mishra.

City hotels on high demand

Around 1200 delegates and officials from 45 countries will also participate in the championship. The sports department will make arrangements for their accommodation. “The athletes and delegates will stay at various hotels in the city. The advance hotel booking will soon begin,” informed Mishra.

Plantation at Vani Vihar in progress

Plantation at Vani Vihar in progress

Beautifying flyovers

The National Highway Authority of India has also started the beautification work.  Plantation work of shrubs and grasses has been started near Vani Vihar flyover. Plantation and installation of stone sculptures will be done under important flyover points. “The work has already started and is expected to be completed soon.  Plants which can grow easily under the bridge will be planted,” project director Vinay Bansal said.  

Eye on tourist inflow

The Orissa Tourism department is also gearing up for the upcoming championship. Around 3000 tourists are likely to arrive in the city during the championship to support their respective teams. “Apart from supporting their teams, there would be many who would prefer to explore the state. So, we are going to promote all the tourist destinations, heritage villages, art and crafts of the state as it would help us to attract more tourists in future.  Various plans and proposals have been put forth for the events. But decisions are yet to be taken,” said Ratikant Patnaik, additional tourism officer.

Dug-up soil covers sculptures

Dug-up soil covers sculptures

Sculptures caught in mess

There is no doubt about the fact that the authorities have taken up the beautification works with enthusiasm. But, the process has lead to a controversy as well. The existing sculptures installed in the stretch from Governor House to Nandankanan are now covered with dust and soil as the area has been dug for laying electricity cables. When BMC was asked about the reason behind the poor condition of the sculptures, they passed the buckle to other departments. “The authorities of Orissa Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) and Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) have not informed us before excavating the area. Had we been informed, we could have guided them where to dump the dug-up soil. The championship will held in the month of July and it will be very difficult to clear everything,” claimed a BMC official, requesting anonymity. 

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