Berhampur: An ambitious plan for formation of ‘Greater Berhampur’ region comprising of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC), the civic bodies areas of Chhatrapur and Gopalpur and adjoining 139 revenue villages as well as Lochapada and Ankushpur on the outskirts is stuck in red-tape for the last 30 years.
The plan had its beginning when the election to the then Berhampur Municipality was held in 1992. The election was held under the newly revised rules of Municipal Act where the voters had to cast their votes twice for the candidate contesting for the post of chairman and for the candidates contesting for the post of councillors.
In that election, the then Congress candidate Chandra Sekhar Sahu defeated his nearest rival Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik of Janata Dal and got elected as chairman of the civic body.
Sahu after joining office mooted a plan to create a ‘Greater Berhampur’ region.
He sent a proposal to the state government to which the then Chief Minister Biju Patnaik gave his consent. Later, the Congress formed the government in the state and late Janaki Ballav Patnaik became the Chief Minister. However, the plan failed to make any headway as Sahu had differences with the Chief Minister. Since then 30 years have passed and the ruling BJD during its long 20-year tenure never gave any emphasis to implement the plan.
On the other hand, the Berhampur Development Authority (BDA) tried to give shape to the proposal and prepared a comprehensive development plan (CDP) at an expenditure of Rs 1.08 crore 10 years back. The CDP envisages various development plans for the region like construction of educational institutions, market complexes and other facilities.
The total area of the proposed ‘Greater Berhampur’ region would be around 317 sq.km. The CDP was prepared keeping in view various aspects and for better living conditions of the people of the region.
It has been 12 years since Berhampur Municipality was upgraded to Municipal Corporation. However, there has been no movement on the CDP as it is gathering dust in the files.
Meanwhile, Chandra Sekhar Sahu got elected as a MP from Berhampur Lok Sabha seat in 2019 elections after he switched sides and joined the BJD. He is keen on implementing the plans which were prepared when he was the chairman of Berhampur Municipality in the 1990s and a Union Minister from 2004 to 2009.
When contacted, Sahu said he was making efforts on the plan for ‘Greater Berhampur’. He said that he will try to convince the state and Union governments for implementation of the plan.