Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today promised to fund the construction of a second bridge over Brahmani river if the Centre delays the project any further.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a public meeting in Rourkela in April 2015, had announced a second bridge over the river but work has not begun in that direction so far.
"The Chief Minister assured the delegation that he would take up the matter with the central government. If they (Centre) are not serious about the project, the state government will construct the bridge from its own resources," an official statement issued by the chief minister's office said.
Hundreds of BJD youth activists staged a demonstration in Rourkela yesterday to protest against the delay in the project.
BJD leader and former minister Sarada Nayak pointed out that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had also laid the foundation stone for the project during his visit to the state in July and assured the people that work would begin within 15 days.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the construction of a second bridge in 2015 and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone in July this year. But four months have passed and work has not started yet," Nayak said.
Echoing similar sentiments, BJP MLA Dilip Ray, who led several agitations in the past two years for the cause, also expressed his displeasure over the matter today.
"The bridge was announced by the PM two years ago but the National Highway Authority of India has shown no interest in implementing the project," he said.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, however, called Patnaik's announcement a political gimmick and said the government was serious about the project.
"Patnaik's announcement about the bridge today was nothing more than a political gimmick. The Union government has already initiated paperwork on the project and construction will begin soon," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)