News & Press Releases
Govt mulls mall, hospital at Old Town
The state government is exploring the feasibility of constructing a shopping complex and a hospital in the Old Town area.
The state housing and urban development department has identified a piece of land near Annie House Chhak, along the Mahatab Road, for the proposed projects.
Senior officers of the department recently visited the site and asked Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to jointly prepare a report and draw up plans for the projects.
"There is no park, shopping mall or hospital around Mahatab road near Kapilaprasad, where a number of retired people stay. A vast piece of government land is available near Annie House Chhak, which is being encroached gradually from all sides," said BMC commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra.
BMC and BDA would jointly carry out eviction of unauthorized encroachments and constructions from the area. "After removal of the encroachment, we would rope in corporate houses to construct a shopping mall, hospital and a park on the land in public private partnership mode," Mishra said.
The urban development department has instructed the BMC and BDA to remove the encroachment from the Old Town area for facilitating the widening of roads, construction of covered drains and sewerage lines. At many places in Old Town, 60 feet or 30 feet roads have been squeezed to 20 feet or 15 feet. At some places the roads have been reduced to barely 10 feet because of the squatters.
"BMC and BDA would conduct joint surveys in Bhimatangi, Kapilaprasad, Kapileswar, Sunderpada, Mahatab Road and Punama Gate area and take up expeditious action to remove the encroachers," a senior officer of the department told.
BDA has been asked to shoulder the responsibility of improving the surrounding of Bhimeswar temple complex in Old Town. The urban development department has harped on developing the front area of the temple in such a way that it would facilitate the staging of cultural programmes and religious functions. "A park for elderly persons can also be constructed. The proposed park should be maintained jointly by BDA and Bhimeswar temple committee," the officer added.
Solar traffic signal mooted
Plans are afoot to install solar-based wireless traffic signal system in the city. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has roped in a Vijaywada-based company to explore the feasibility of the proposed project.
"The company has been asked to show a demonstration before the commissionerate of police," said city engineer of BMC, T B K Shroff. If commissioned, road trenching, physical cabling between poles and signal failure during power disruption will become a thing of the past.
"The system built with the latest technology will allow police to centralize monitoring and controlling of all traffic junctions. It will bring down power consumption and difficulties in relocating a signal in case of rearrangement," said a functionary of the company, Efftronics Systems Pvt Ltd.
Floral touch to Bhubaneswar makeover
The freezing city harbours dreams of spring with plans to line its roads with a riot of flowers and other ornamental plants. All road medians and extra side spaces are to be covered under the scheme, for which a joint team of the forest department, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and public works department will undertake a survey from January 7 to 14 to decide on the kind of saplings to be planted and where.
"Since construction work on most inner roads in Bhubaneswar is complete, we are now focusing on their beautification. After long deliberations, we concluded that raising ornamental flower plants is the best option," said city divisional forest officer (DFO) Jayanat Dash, who chaired a coordination committee on plantation in the city recently.
Types of saplings to be planted will be decided on the basis of space available. Besides, authorities will decide on unique themes for different roads to give them a distinct look, the DFO said. Gabion boxes would be put up to save the plants from stray cattle and theft.
Dash said on various roads on the outskirts, where construction work is still on, saplings will be planted on extreme ends of the roads where the plants would not be affected by the ongoing works.
After the plant types are decided upon, the BMC will engage outside agencies to plant the saplings. "We will prepare a report on the total space available for plantation, total number of plants required and suggestion of different types of plants for individual roads. After the forest department gives its go ahead, the BMC would hire agencies to execute the work," said BMC environment officer Bikram Routray.
Earlier attempts to raise flower plants were made in a piecemeal fashion where either some corporate house came forward for maintenance of a particular patch of green or the BMC undertook the drive on a limited scale in particular areas, Routray pointed out. This time, however, all the roads in Bhubaneswar will be comprehensively covered under the plantation drive, he said.
The city's earlier experiments with decorative plants have not been pleasant. Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the city to take part in the Indian Science Congress in 2011, the BMC had planted attractive flower plants between AG Square and Governor's House. However, those were stolen in broad daylight. "People were seen queuing up to lift these plants. I think we need to have a sense of belonging about public roads and property. Otherwise, any such beautification attempts would fail again," said Mayor Anant Narayan Jena.
BMC lines up 13 charter plan to woo voters in 2013
With the urban local body election scheduled in the first half of 2013, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified 13 priorities to keep voters in good humour. The civic body hopes to usher in better amenities, street lights and bus services among a slew of new projects in the New Year.
The civic body hopes to bring in G eographic information system (GIS) mapping of the city property to assess property tax. It will also help introduce an assets management system and dove-tail other e-municipal services to the system. This is part of National Mission Mode Project (NMMP) to upscale the IT system.
Among other plans, BMC hopes to auction its share of BMC-Keshari mall in the New Year. It hopes to generate about Rs 25 crore from the auction. Besides, the civic body plans to develop four existing lands owned by it under private public partnership (PPP) mode. Chandrasekhapur and unit-8 kalyan mandap, Saheed Nagar BMC land and the land near Sismo hotel will be used for developing business outlets and other multipurpose projects.
This apart, Rs 15 crore, sanctioned by the housing and urban development department (H&UDD) department under Jawaharlal Neheru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), will be spent by the BMC to procure buses for Bhubaneswar-Puri Transport Services Limited (BPTSL). Additional 48 buses will be on the Bhubaneswar and Bhubaneswar-Puri routes in the New Year.
On the sanitation front, measures such as door-to-door collection of waste, street sweeping, drain de-siltation, conservancy cleaning, bulk garbage collection and transportation are to be streamlined as BMC rolls out a tender process for the same. "The tender process will be finalized before June 30. Through a one-time tender, we will be able to cover 53 wards in four zones. Cleaning work in other seven wards will be taken up by the BMC itself," said BMC commissioner Sanjib Mishra.
In the first week of January, the BMC will begin the process of request for proposal (RFP) for energy efficient low cost street lights in the city. Around 20,000 street lights will be replaced by the energy efficient lights. The International Financial Corporation (IFC) has been roped in to provide technical assistance in the installation of street lights.
The BMC will also replace low height designer lamp posts installed on the road from AG square to governor house with taller ones.
"We have invited some private parties to discuss as to what best can be done to restore the beauty of lighting on the particular road," said the commissioner. He said the new poles to replace the designer posts will cost about Rs 30 lakh with each of them costing about Rs 49 lakh.
Meanwhile, the BMC has given license to a company to install a device that will ensure a call drop-free city. The company has already deposited the license fee. At least 46 points have been identified in the city to install the device.
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to create asset inventory
In the New Year, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) will embark on a new initiative to streamline its assets. Now the civic body does not know the details of its assets. It is planning to engage a private party to create an inventory and manage the properties. The management will be done to take suitable decision for taking up various development works.
Now, there are no records of all movable and immovable assets under the BMC forcing the authorities at times to decide and act on certain things on a hit and trial manner. "Assets management is an important component of a civic body. So we are planning to put in place assets management by outsourcing it to some private party like in Gujarat. There are many civic bodies in the country, which have evolved assets management that provides them the exact data on a particular asset to take decision before embarking on any development work," said BMC commissioner Sanjib Mishra.
He said the BMC owns lands at many places, but there is yet to be data as to what is the current price of the land, its size, present demand of the area where the land is located and how can the land be used best. Similarly, there are many vehicles being run by the BMC but there are no details like what is their present condition, value of depreciation and whether they can be put to use on road or not.
Rajmahal roundabout to be closed
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to block the roundabout under Rajmahal flyover for smooth movement of traffic. A joint team of the BMC and police visited the site on Monday and proposed the works department to block the movement at the turnabout from the directions of AG Square towards Rajmahal and vice-versa.
Though roundabouts are designed to make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, the turnabout has been triggering accidents ever since the flyover was commissioned a few months back.
"Like the road under Jayadev Vihar flyover, we will block the turnabout under Rajmahal over-bridge. The traffic police too have given their consent," BMC commissioner Sanjib Mishra said.
The team also inspected Kalpana Fire Station Square and decided to widen the road on 'left turn' towards Rajmahal. "The left turn has been squeezed by vendors, leading to traffic snarls in peak hours. The turn will be made spacious for smooth flow of vehicles," Mishra said. Similarly, the road near the Museum Chhawk would be expanded by razing some unauthorized structures on the route.
Earlier, police had identified two 'unviable' bus stops near Kalpana Square and Museum Chhawk for demolition to pave way for spacious roads. There is also a proposal to remove encroachments from roadsides near Sishu Bhawan Square and relocate the existing traffic post to a nearby location.
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to collect holding tax as per old rate
The state government allowed Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to collect holding tax according to the old rate. The civic body had written to the principal secretary of housing and urban development department around a month back seeking permission for the same.
The BMC had notified the new tax rate in December 2010. But it was stayed by the high court in August 2011 following a petition by a citizens' association in Bhubaneswar. Since then, the civic body could not collect the tax. It has resulted in pending tax dues of around Rs 10 crores.
"There won't be any violation of the high court order if BMC restores the old rate of holding tax. BMC is allowed to take appropriate follow up action," said a letter sent to the BMC from Hrushikesh Tripathy, director, municipal administration.
BMC commissioner Sanjib Mishra said, "Collection of holding tax has been pending since August 2011. So we wrote to the secretary of H&UD department asking for permission to collect the same at the old rate. We have got the nod of the government."
The corporation had decided to increase the tax rate 20 times than the old rates, which invited steep reactions from the citizens. "The old rate for residential houses per 100 sq ft was Rs 48 but the new rate for the same area was fixed at Rs 988. Since the new rate was not implemented, we will collect tax as per the old rate," said K P Pati, deputy commissioner.
BMC to raze govt quarters for market expansion
The state government has decided to demolish 43 police quarters to facilitate the proposed facelift of Unit-I market, commonly known as Rajdhani Haat.
The quarters, which house 23 police personnel, are located behind the haat, the biggest in the city. "Occupants need not worry as they will be given alternate accommodations. It is imperative to raze the quarters for expansion of the haat," Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner, Sanjib Kumar Mishra said. "We will co-ordinate with the general administration department and police to take possession over the land," he added.
The civic body plans to rope in a private developer for razing the quarters, most of which have been illegally rented out to market vendors, who have converted these into warehouses. There are many unauthorized commercial establishments inside the market. About 387 vendors pay civic tax. BMC collects nearly Rs 4 lakh revenue annually from Unit-I market.
The crammed daily market, which lacks hygiene and fire safety, will be converted into a four-storey market complex with parking facilities. The project plan also includes 1,400 kiosks to accommodate vendors. Though BMC's official list pegs the number of traders at 1,053, in reality around 3,000 vendors had occupied shops, locally called pindis, in and around the sprawling 10-acre market.
As per the plan, first floor of the new market complex will be allotted to vegetable vendors and other floors will be for traders dealing in electronic goods, stationery and utensils. The building will also have eateries and other facilities for recreation.
The delay in implementing the project, which was mooted in 2010, was due to land acquisition problem and resentment by a section of vendors, who feared displacement.
The market was inaugurated on April 11, 1958. The general administration department was custodian of the market from 1962 till October 9, 1984, when its management was transferred to BMC.