Sunday, July 14, 2024

Transformative Infrastructure Initiatives Unveiled in Puri: Shree Setu, AC Tunnels, and More

The Odisha government has undertaken several infrastructure projects in Puri, including the construction of the ‘Shree Setu,’ a 2.8-kilometre bypass stretch designed to reduce travel time for visitors approaching from Bhubaneswar and Brahmagiri. The Shree Setu, India’s first trumpet bridge, connects four lanes of roads and leads directly to a multi-level parking spot, avoiding city traffic.

In response to the increased footfall at the Jagannath temple post-COVID-19, the government has implemented measures such as the redevelopment of the temple surroundings and the construction of the ‘Shrimandir Parikrama,’ a 1.5-kilometre-long path encircling the temple. The Shree Setu and the ‘Shrimandir Parikrama’ aim to address the growing number of devotees, reaching up to 10 lakh during festivals.

The initiatives are based on the recommendations of a state-appointed Commission of Inquiry, focusing on enhancing temple administration, governance, and addressing endowment issues, including security and safety measures.

To accommodate devotees comfortably, a makeshift AC tunnel with benches has been installed, providing shade and seating for 3,000 devotees at a time. This 85-metre-long pathway aims to enhance convenience and protect devotees from heat while waiting in lines.

Other developments include the widening of the grand road (‘bada danda’) leading to the temple, construction of stormwater drainages to prevent flooding, and the creation of a green buffer zone. The city administration has also built a two-wheeler parking area and an extended pathway.

The Jagannath Heritage Corridor project, costing Rs 2,700 crore, has led to the displacement of over 600 shops and properties. The affected properties were rehabilitated within two kilometres of the temple complex. The upcoming Puri airport, the second international airport in Odisha, is nearing completion, expected to attract more devotees by reducing travel time from the Bhubaneswar airport.

Binaya Kumar Dash, Assistant District Magistrate, Puri, stated that affected individuals were compensated according to rules, with many receiving shops in newly built complexes. The district administration acquired over 17 acres of land for the Jagannath Heritage Corridor project, encompassing five villages.

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