| Kiosks constructed in front of SCB Medical College and Hospital as part of a vending zone project of the civic body in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, Jan. 21: Officials of the municipal corporation are in a quandary over the 80 shops erected along the SCB Medical College and Hospital’s boundary wall as a part of its vending zone project.
The traffic management committee has mounted pressure on the Cuttack Municipal Corporation to remove the shops, which the high court had ruled as “unauthorised” over four months ago.
However, despite the high court order, the civic body moved at a snail’s pace in removing the vendors over the drain and road from Mangalabag Chhak to Bhubanananda Odisha School of Engineering and identifying an alternative site for the project.
“The exercise will involve a substantial expenditure, apart from the amount already incurred in building the 80 shops,” a corporation official said.
Sources said there would be legal complications during audit check if the shops constructed under the vending zone project were razed without following due procedure.
“The shops beside SCB’s boundary wall will shortly be removed. The options of an alternative site for the vending zone project are also being explored,” mayor Saumendra Ghosh told The Telegraph.
The road running through the SCB main gate is a congested one, housing medicine shops, diagnostic centres, nursing homes, restaurants and shops on either side of the road. Further, from the hospital gate to the engineering school there are institutions such as Central Red Cross, Blood Bank, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Institute, State Bank ATM, and educational institution. It is one of the busiest roads of the city along which ambulances and other vehicles ply.
The corporation had constructed 80 shops beside the wall to the right of the main gate towards the engineering school. Construction of shops to the left towards Mangalabag Chhak was planned to be taken up in the second phase of the project to ease out the congestion on the road.
But, the traffic management committee, headed by the police commissioner, had raised objections against it and sought Orissa High Court’s intervention. The committee submitted a report before the court, expressing the view that “the road from Mangalabag Chhak to the engineering school is not feasible for establishment of a vending zone”.
“Taking note of the report, the court had in September last year directed the corporation to take immediate steps to remove the unauthorised constructions, be it temporary or permanent, over the drain and road from Mangalabag Chhak to the engineering school,” traffic management committee member advocate P.K. Panda said.
The committee, in its report, said: “Vending zone at this location will further aggravate the existing traffic situation. Patients in emergency may not have free access to reach the hospital. This may lead to casualties.”
The report also pointed out that if the vending zone on the drain was allowed to be built, all the shops’ wastage and other garbage would be dumped in the drain, aggravating the unhygienic situation. This will have an impact on the health of the locality which is a major concern.