BHUBANESWAR: The much-awaited lake project near Satya Nagar crematorium here has been put on fast track. The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) recently completed a survey of slum dwellers, residing at the proposed site. "It is an unauthorized slum. The slum dwellers will be rehabilitated in three transit accommodation centres in the city," BDA vice-chairman Vishal Dev said.
The project, mooted in 2011, was delayed following opposition from the slum dwellers, apprehending displacement. According to the survey, nearly 1,700 people stay in huts at the site.
The slum inhabitants said they would allow the project work to start only after being provided with alternative accommodation. "We have been staying here since many years. We will move out only after getting proper accommodation elsewhere," said Janardan Bhoi, a slum dweller.
Sources said the government had earmarked 26 acre for the proposed lake zone-II project. Nearly 13 acre of the land belongs to private people. The general administration department has already acquired nine acre private land and directed the BDA to ensure smooth relocation of the slum dwellers.
Going by the plan, the lake zone-II will have a water body, a jogging corridor, a food court and a park. The proposed lake will originate from BDA City Centre on Rajpath and spread up to the crematorium on Janpath. A natural drain, which is being renovated, runs parallel to the proposed lake site.
"There will be paddle boating facility at the proposed lake. It will be a perfect recreation hub for people," Dev said. A consultancy agency will be roped in to draw up the project plan, he added.
The city denizens are, however, irked over the authority's lackadaisical attitude in reviving the lake at BDA City Centre, jointly owned by the BDA and a private company. The paddle boating facility at the centre was suspended after the lake shrunk and dried up due to poor maintenance.
"Instead of reviving the lake, the government allowed a private party to arrange marriage parties inside the centre. Neither the BDA nor the private party thought of giving a fresh lease of life to the dead lake," Amiya Panigrahi, a resident of Kharvela Nagar said.