Taking note of the traffic chaos at Patna Junction, a committee led by the divisional commissioner has been set up to suggest an action plan to deal with the regular commotion.
The traffic congestion near the Patna Junction roundabout was an issue of debate in the Assembly on Monday.
The station area gets exceedingly overcrowded because of the parked autorickshaws and the buses that ply to and from the station. Also, a large number of devotees visiting the Mahavir Mandir and rampant encroachment by street vendors are some of the reasons behind the everyday clog.
Mahnar (Vaishali) BJP MLA Acchutanand, who frequently takes trains from the Patna Junction, raised the traffic snarl issue in the Assembly, complaining that because of apathetic policemen and encroachment, it sometimes takes “more than an hour to travel half-a-kilometer to the Patna Junction”.
Hearing his complaint, water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary replied: “Chief secretary A.K. Sinha had a meeting on the (traffic) issue. A committee, led by the divisional commissioner, has been set up to suggest an action plan to deal with the traffic scenario in the area.”
To this, former Speaker and Congress MLA Sadanand Singh said the government should take time-bound action to solve the traffic problem.
“The government has not ignored the problem. The chief secretary has reviewed the matter,” the minister said, joking that Sadanand Singh had hardly missed a train to Bhagalpur. Singh is the Kahalgaon MLA.
Patna divisional commissioner ENS Balaprasad said the action plan was being formulated.
“The Patna district magistrate and superintendent of police are members of the committee,” Balaprasad said.
Minister Choudhary also said a closed-circuit television camera has been installed on the station premises and six junior police officers and 24 constables have been posted near the roundabout to deal with the traffic jams.
“Even a bylane has been created to deal with the traffic problems,” he said. He, however, conceded that the traffic situation in the area was very complex.
“Apart from regular vehicles, devotees to Mahavir Mandir also throng the area in their cars. Railway officials, too, park their cars in the area,” he added.
MLA Acchutanand demanded the removal of vehicles from the area, stressing that it was illegal. However, Leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui opposed it saying that the common man uses these modes of transport to reach the station. The BJP MLA also demanded the removal of the milk collection centre in the area.
“The traffic jam is taking place in connivance with the police, who take money from autorickshaw drivers and traders who encroach upon the road,” the MLA alleged.
Residents, on the other hand, seem fed up with the frequent snarls near the roundabout.
“Though police are deployed near the roundabout, they do not act when autorickshaws and buses lead to a chock-a-block near the roundabout. Autorickshaws are parked on all four sides of the roundabout. The drivers wait for passengers, clogging the movement of all other vehicles. The city buses worsen the situation further. The police sometimes drive away a few autorickshaws but they don’t take a concrete step to decongest the area,” said Niraj Kumar, a businessman.
The bus operators, too, face a harrowing time manoeuvring through the snarls.
“There are no bus stops in Patna. We have to stop anywhere on the road. However, autorickshaws are the main reason behind the traffic problems because they park illegally to pick up passengers. The police are hand-in-glove with the autorickshaw drivers. The cops take money from them to allow them to park anywhere near the station premises,” said Kunal Sharma, the chief operation officer of Eden Transport Private Limited.