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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Snarls in city centre catch residents unawares

- Commuters stuck for long durations on Frazer Road & Bailey Road; blame on private vehicle owners

Monday morning blues were worsened for residents by a serpentine snarl on two thoroughfares of central Patna.

Commuters were stuck in the slowly moving mass of vehicles along the stretch between SP Verma Road Chowk and Dakbungalow Chowk for half-an-hour or more in the morning rush hour. There was no respite in the evening either as the snarl refused to clear.

Private firm employee Shailesh Kumar was one of the helpless commuters stuck in the snarl with his motorbike in the morning. As the cars moved slower than snails, he kept calling a client with whom he had an appointment.

“My client has been waiting for me for more than half-an-hour. I made this appointment a week ago. If I can meet him, I shall finalise a business deal that will help me meet my quarterly target. I am calling him repeatedly and apologising for the delay,” said the harried professional.

Like him, thousands of others moving south were stuck for long hours on the half-kilometre-stretch of Frazer Road between SP Verma Road and Dakbungalow Chowk. From Dakbungalow Chowk, cars and bikers, heading towards west, on Bailey Road were stuck for 15 minutes or more at all major junctions, including Hartali Mor, Kotwali Chowk, Income Tax roundabout and High Court Golambar. It took commuters around an hour to cover the 3-km-long stretch between Dakbungalow Chowk and the high court.

Asked the reason for the daylong snarl, a traffic policeman on duty at Dakbungalow Chowk attributed it to the large number of private vehicles. “Everyone owns a car these days. Look at every vehicle stuck here: you will see one or two persons in most of them,” he said.

Besides the generic problem, a political procession added to the commuters’ misery. On Monday morning, members of a non-government organisation, Asha, took out a procession from Kargil Chowk to R-Block, after covering Frazer Road, Bailey Road and Beer Chand Patel Marg. “But the situation on Sundays is same,” the officer added.

His boss, however, was not so forthcoming. Superintendent of police (traffic) Chandrika Prasad said he was unaware of the situation because he had been on leave. “I joined today (Monday) and am collecting feedbacks from the officers. We are taking immediate steps to ensure smooth flow of traffic and are also planning long-term solutions,” he said.