Bhubaneswar: With the authorities envisaging to achieve another ambitious project, shop owners and residents along the Janpath Marg are facing a harrowing time due to ongoing deep excavation works for laying power lines along the lanes.
Executed by the Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) the work of laying underground power cable is underway from Ram Mandir to Vani Vihar. Started from mid June, the works of deep excavation has caused much inconvenience to the denizens and people visiting the locale.
“They have opened the entire stretch of road and the customers visiting our shops have complained of lack of parking space due to the ongoing works. We have asked the authorities to speed up the work but it has been futile. It’s been more than a month and our business is getting affected,” complained Sushant Behera who runs a garment shop near Ram Mandir.
Observing the severe power outage due to destruction of electric poles post Fani, the need for UG power cabling was discussed by experts. The UG cable project, started in 2016, envisaged laying of 33kv and 11kv power lines underground covering a distance of 350km in the city. However, the slow pace of work has raised concern among the people.
Sources said the entire project was to be completed at a cost of 1,500 crore within five years. In the first phase, 350 crore was allocated along with a deadline of two years for about 250 km of lines. However till date only 200 km of UG cabling work has been completed in the first phase only in the priority areas.
Matters have become worse as the project is being done during monsoon periods. Regular showers meant that excavated mud with waters have made the area sludgy and swampy. Locals have also complained that the digging has been done earlier as well in the same area.
Commenting over this, OPTCL Assistant General Manager Sanjay Mohanty said, “Our target is to lay about 80-90 kms of power cables in this part of the project. We have already laid the power lines from Shishu Bhawan to Ram Mandir. Presently, we are laying it further ahead from Ram Mandir to Vani Vihar. Arrangements are being made to complete the work as early as possible.”
Meanwhile locals have also complained that the traffic snarls along the Janpath have increased recently, thanks to slow work by the OPTCL. Others have also complained that the restoration works post Fani have been hampered due to open roads.
“It’s not just that people are facing inconvenience but the constant digging destroys the aesthetics of the area. Also, the lack of coordination within the departments means the work continues to drag on. People adjust because eventually the work is being done for them but the rigmarole in the process is what irks them,” said Srimanta Rout, former urban planner.