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Why Is Odisha's Gurupriya Bridge Important?

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19 July 2018

Panchanan Dash

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Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited Gurpriya Setu (bridge) in southern-Odisha’s tribal-dominated district Malkangiri is waiting for its inauguration as its construction is already completed.

It will solve connectivity to a large extent in the cut-off area of the district that comes under the Chitrakonda assembly constituency. Simultaneously, it will also solve tackling more successfully the nagging left wing extremism (LWE) problem as the cut-off area has been the den of the Maoists.

The work of the 910-metre-long Gurupriya Setu will connect Janbai North and South.

The construction of the bridge was necessary as the vast forest land and villages had been submerged decades ago and the area remained cut off from the mainland. It was because of the construction of Balimela reservoir and Balimela hydro project.

Ferry is the only means of transport which is cumbersome and kills hours of time. Even officials hesitate to venture. Hence, the Gurupriya Setu once open to public will connect 151 villages of 8 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the cut-off area. And thus, development agenda of the State Government can be expedited now.

As Maoists were stalling the bridge construction work, at least five Border Security Force (BSF) camps were set up between Janbai and Chitrakonda.

Need to be mentioned that, the ultras had gunned down at least 38 Grey Hound police personnel in an ambush on June 29, 2008.

Keeping in view the Maoist threat, the newly-constructed Gurupriya Setu has now round-the-clock tightened security following which six high-resolution CCTV cameras have been installed at different locations of the bridge for its protection.

Prior to the inauguration by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in future, date yet to be finalized, Odisha DGP on Thursday reviewed the security arrangements.

Talking to media, DGP Dr R.P. Sharma said, “Today we are reviewing the security scenario in the areas of Gurupriya Bridge. The bridge is already constructed fully and likely to be inaugurated very soon depending on weather condition. May be in the next week or two.”

“To facilitate the local people, the concerned agency has allowed the people to use the bridge. This bridge really helps in development of the people and the areas. We have made adequate security arrangement to see that the bridge is no way threatened by any LWE cadres,” informed the DGP.

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R.P. Sharma, DGP, Odisha