Report by Badal Tah, Rayagada, September 5: Recent months have witnessed a sound growth and planning in the development of Rayagada Municipality. As an Urban Level Body(ULB), it is a part of District Urban Development Agency(DUDA). Sri Amrit Rituraj, IAS is the Project Director of DUDA. The municipality council has been dissolved by the Government as its tenure was over. There is no chairperson and councilor to resolve on day-to-day issues of the town. In stead, the present Collector Sri Pramod Kumar Meherda as Administrator alongwith Sri Sachidananda Satpathy, Executive Officer has made a team of officials accountable to redress grievance ward-wise. Behera, Rituraj & Satpathy trio have taken effort to take the town to a greater height.
This Municipality in its beginning stage was constituted as Notified Area Council(NAC) during 1955 covering an area of 16.41 sq. kms, which was subsequently declared as Municipality by the Government of Odisha, Housing & Urban Development Department during 1971 .Rayagada town now has twenty four wards and a population of 70921 according to 2011 census. It is now more than one lakh with 16,632 households. Because of several industries like Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited(IMFA), JK Paper Mills Ltd(JKPM), Utkal Alumina International Limited(UAIL), VEDANTA and their several ancillaries the population has turned into a business hub. There are four engineering colleges namely GIACR, MITS, GIST and RITAM. Adding to this there are several ITIs, a Govt Polytechnic, few nursing schools apart from educational institutions of general nature. GOI’s recent announcement of putting a bottling plant and a Divisional Railway Manager’s(DRM) office, the population is expected to snowball in the future.
In the context of this, one can now behold the widened two ways NH-326 with LED street lights having underground wiring. A dozen of vehicles with segregated compartments for dry & wet wastes go around all the wards collecting wastes from individual houses and hundreds of dustbins of green(wet waste) and blue(dry waste) colours are kept at roadsides. In the main road the commercial shops are provided with enough use & pay dustbins. The waste collection vehicles are fitted with loudspeakers to sensitize the inhabitants of the town to segregate the waste at source. A solid waste management plant has been planned in a 12 acres plot at Antariguda village. Besides this, two micro composting centres will be set up near Jayaramaguda & Gurumguda villages as a part of the solid waste management design. The segregated plastics will be sold to local entrepreneurs and Toshali cement at Ampavalli, Pottangi, Koraput to financially support the sanitary workers. The old drains of this tinsel town have been renovated, desilted and broadened to check overflow as well as leaching. A marketing complex at Kasturi Nagar is slowly getting occupied. Vending zones at different places with fabricated shops are provided to rehabilitate the street vendors. A Jatri Nivas within the compound of the new bus stand has been recently unveiled by Saraka. Assistance for Individual Household Latrines(IHL) has been aggressively done to check open defecation. Community toilets at strategic points have been established to strengthen the process of ODF municipality. Several parks are being maintained. In Gandhi Park, amusement for children and a gym for all are eye catchers. Greeneries at places like forest park, graveyards, avenues, etc are the joint effort of Municipality & Forest Deptt. On a regular basis it has seized polythenes from the unauthorized stockist and shopkeepers and levied fines. PMAY(U) houses have been distributed in slums with a geo-tagging process. During the recent summer, safe drinking water contained in water pots were kept in each ward for the commuters. The digital face of the Municipality is also encouraging. It has a facebook page to exhibit transparency. EO Satpathy, who joined Rayagada Municipality six months back, is always online in his WhatsApp and responds to even trivial issues in his jurisdiction. It is thus no looking back for him.
A well planned new graveyard at Siriguda is under construction. Work for a mini stadium and a town hall beside the Municipality office is progressing. There is a plan for yet another Kalyan Mandap at Sai Pria Nagar where Rajya Sabha MP Sri Bhaskar Rao and SC-ST Minister Sri Jagannath Saraka laid the foundation stone recently. The walls of the boundaries at main road, a part of NH-326 going through the town, are wall-painted aesthetically to beautify the city. With the mediation of Collector Sri Behera a shopping complex under Gundicha temple with a lift for senior citizens & differentially abled persons to pay darshan to deity Lord Jagannath during car festival has been agreed upon by the promoter. Similarly work has started for a much awaited bye-pass divering from Siriguda village via CDMO’s office, OMC office, Sri Aurobindo Integrated school, GIACR, Sai International Hotel. This was a prime demand of the local denizens.
With recent declaration of 5Ts by Chief Minister Naveen Pattanaik, ward wise grievance redressal mechanisms are in place under the authority of a staff member of the Municipality led by its EO Satpathy. Particular venue, date and timing are fixed for each ward for the issues to be addressed in that ward. “This decentralization process of grievance redressal mechanism is certainly a welcome step on the foundation of 5T mantra of CM. Conversion of TMMT(Tractor Mounted Mobile Toilet) systems into bio-toilets, revival of Toy Train in Gandhi Park, establishment of Project Management Unit(PMU) envisaged by Housing & Urban Development Department for furthering the sanitation and sewerage works in the town, coordination among PHED-Forest-NH-DPMU-SOUTHCO-Pollution Control Board, putting Solid Waste Management Plant, Micro Compositing Units, early completion of town hall(Krushna Chandra Nagar Bhawan) & indoor stadium, containing dog menace, issues of contractual sweepers/sanitary workers, etc are some of the challenges to be met with a coordinated effort under the coordination of EO Satpathy ”, opined Sri Debasish Khadanga, a budding youth leader in the town.