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Mishap blame on traffic authorities

Lack of foot over-bridges is one of the major causes for mishaps on Janpath. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 29: Thirty-year-old Manoj Kumar was critically injured on Wednesday when a vehicle of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police hit him near Ram Mandir.

Kumar, who is being treated at a private hospital here, was crossing the eight-lane Janpath to board a bus on the other side of the road when he met with the accident.

Though police arrested the driver of the vehicle, local residents and commuters blamed poor traffic management for the accident.

The entire stretch of Janpath from Vani Vihar to Sishu Bhavan Square lacks a single proper zebra crossing to help pedestrians cross over to the other side. The existing ones are not clearly visible, having been washed away by rain.

The government had proposed to construct two foot over-bridges at Ashok Nagar and near Rama Devi Women’s College on Janpath, but they are yet to materialise.

Recently, Janpath had been widened to eight lanes and the expansion work on some portions of this busy road is still on.

“All the major business establishments are located on either side of Janpath. Pedestrians have a tough time trying to cross the road. Sometimes speeding vehicles cause accidents,” said Deba Sahoo, a businessman who has an establishment near Master Canteen Square.

Crowded places such as Ram Mandir, several commercial complexes, schools and colleges are located on this road. People using this road have accused the authorities time and again of turning a blind eye to their problems.

Even police officials agree that this has become an accident-prone zone. “At least three to four such cases come to our notice every day,” said a police officer.

People crossing this road said they had to wait for a long time to get to the other side during peak hours. “It takes me more than 10 minutes near the Kali mandir in Satya Nagar to cross the road that has no zebra crossings,” said Sumanti Pattnaik, a teacher and resident of Satya Nagar.

She added that since there were two schools in the locality, a number of students crossed the road every day.

“The lack of barricades on the medians along the road to prevent people from trying to cross anywhere cause many accidents,” said Banita Patra, another local resident.

Both the women suggested building foot over-bridges, at least at important intersections and where people cross the road in large numbers.

“The authorities should erect barricades along Janpath and allow people to cross the road at those points where they paint zebra crossings. This will prevent accidents,” said Pradyumna Panda, a social activist.

Traffic officials said that though they had written to the roads and buildings department, they were not paying heed to their appeals for painting zebra crossings. “The roads and buildings authorities had assured us that they would start the work by November, but they are yet to do so,” said assistant commissioner of police (traffic), Bhubaneswar, Binod Das.

Roads and buildings officials said they would conduct a survey with the traffic police to identify places where zebra crossings should be marked.

“We will start the process in 15 to 30 days,” said Manoranjan Tripathy, an executive engineer of the roads and buildings department.