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Street name teasers

The road construction department’s decision to use the new names of roads in the state capital instead of their colonial versions has triggered fear that the move might lead to confusion.

The higher-ups in the road construction department have issued instructions to their subordinate engineers to use the new names of roads, which are mostly after leaders associated with the freedom struggle or have held important posts in the post-Independence era.

Engineers of the department, however, are not happy with the move and feel that a sudden change would trigger a slew of problems for them, as the old names are in use for years.

The official names of the thoroughfares are to be used in documents as well as on signboards displaying the names of the roads . The order was issued because many engineers were using the old names.

On the reason behind issuing the direction, road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav said: “It has been 65 years since Independence and we still find roads named after the colonial rulers. The names were changed long back during the Congress regime but were not in use. So, we decided to issue the direction to the engineers, instructing them to use the new names in all official documents and to put up new signboards. Once the new names find place in official documents, residents will also start using them gradually.”

Former chief minister Jagannath Mishra, during whose regime the roads were renamed, said: “We had taken the decision because the British names used to make us feel that we were still ruled by the English. So we thought of renaming the roads after eminent Indian politicians and freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for the country.”

Supporting the move, Chandra Mohan Kumar Mishra, the executive engineer of the road construction department, said: “It was important to change the names. For example, then Patna division commissioner William Taylor ordered the hanging of freedom fighter Shaheed Peer Ali Khan in 1857. It does not look nice that a road named after Taylor has retained the original name. We have started putting up boards bearing the new names of roads.”

Engineers, however, feel that the use of official names would create problems for them as the new names are not in regular use. Bigger boards would be needed as well because the new names are longer.

A junior engineer of the department, preferring anonymity, said: “I do not understand the logic behind using the names, which are not in use for years. As the directive has been issued, we cannot do anything. But it will create problems for us. To write Wheeler Road, we use a small board. But to write Shaheed Peer Ali Khan Marg, we need a bigger signboard. Why cannot it just be called Peer Ali Marg or Nehru Marg instead of writing their full names? They would take comparatively less space on the boards.”

Another officer in the rank of assistant engineer said: “I do not think that people are going to use or remember the new names unless they figure on the signboards of shops and stalls. The shopkeepers would not change the signboards because anyone who walks and passes through the road looks at the shop, not the board.”

The decision was taken at the weekly review meeting on December 10. Boards carrying the new names of roads are being put up in several areas. The colonial names were changed 23 years ago but were hardly in use in official documents and boards. Bailey Road is Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, while Mazhrul Haque Path is the official name of Frazer Road but very few know that.


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