Bhubaneswar, July 24: Too many cooks spoil the broth and too many permission-granting agencies are messing up traffic and stopping a foot overbridge from coming up at one of the busiest areas in the capital, the Master Canteen Square.
In the middle of this chaos is an Odisha State Poultry Products Co-operative Marketing Federation Limited (Opolfed) kiosk near the square.
The enforcement wing of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is having trouble removing the extension of this particular Opolfed kiosk because of the temporary permission granted to it by Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police.
“Our officials went to demolish the extension of the Opolfed kiosk because it was creating traffic problems. There are plans to construct a foot overbridge near the spot. But the people managing the kiosk showed us the permission they had from the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police under Section 29 of the Orissa Urban Policing Act, 2003. However, the civic body should be the sole authority to permit such extensions,” said a senior officer in the land section of BMC.
BMC officials now want to take the matter to a city management group meeting. The group convenes meeting at regular intervals to discuss city-based issues and problems.
BMC grants an Opolfed kiosk an area of 100sqft. But more often than not, kiosk owners exceed this limit and add seating arrangements. As a result, the area they use goes beyond the permitted limit. Kiosks that have extended their limits near busy squares and traffic junctions create serious traffic problems, especially in the evenings when they attract more customers.
The BMC authorities targeted many such fake kiosks last December before the 99th Indian Science Congress session in the city. The civic authorities had found that though some kiosk owners had the permission for a single kiosk, they had opened several in various localities.
Municipal commissioner Vishal Kumar Dev said: “The permission given by the police helps the kiosk owners get more area than what we permit, creating traffic congestion along major roads. We want to discuss it at the city management group meeting so that all the agencies act in a co-ordinated manner.”
“This confusion has been caused because of the presence of multiple agencies. With a single-window permitting authority, such confusions can be avoided,” a land officer of the BMC said.
Sources said the Master Canteen Square Opolfed kiosk was not the only one to get temporary permission from the police. Many kiosk operators had extended their shop limits with the help of the police so that they can bypass action from the civic authorities during routine demolition drives.
Eleven kiosks located near the Bhubaneswar railway station are yet to be moved, even though the general administration department has identified a place for them near a prominent apartment block in Kharvela Nagar.
“The newly identified land near Kharavela Nagar could get encroached upon, so the authorities must see to it that these kiosks are moved immediately,” said a BMC official.
Additional deputy commissioner of police Nirmal Satapathy said: “When these eatery owners want a temporary shed near their shops, they apply to the police for clearance. After checking the spot, we give them clearance, but under certain conditions and restrictions, so that they don’t contribute to the traffic chaos.”
However, Satapathy categorically said that the police only gave clearance, while permission to set up the kiosks was given by the BMC.
In case of emergencies, the permission granted can be cancelled without assigning any reason.