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Parking chokes Janpath

Bhubaneswar, April 22: The civic authorities here are yet to find a solution to the traffic chaos caused by unauthorised parking on both sides of Janpath, particularly between Kharavela Nagar police station and Master Canteen.

After the expansion of Janpath to an eight-lane structure, the city police allowed people to park their vehicles on the extreme left lanes on both sides of the road as there is no parking space in the area.

But people have resorted to parking on other lanes of this stretch, too, leaving little space for vehicles to move on. Many two-wheeler owners also park their vehicles on the footpath, forcing pedestrians to take to the main road despite severe congestion.

Though a number of complaints have been filed on this matter, the cops are yet to wake up and act, allege some daily commuters.

The commuters also alleged that the city traffic police did not usually take action against people for illegally parking their vehicles on Janpath. This has allegedly encouraged several commuters from other areas to park their vehicles on this stretch.

“The vehicles are parked in such a manner that they not only created traffic obstructions, but also affected our daily business as customers faced difficulty coming to our shops,” said Basudev Nayak, a local trader.

Traffic police officials said that the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority and the general administration department usually looked after issues related to allotment of parking space.

“Despite writing to authorities concerned for creating new parking lots along Janpath, where many business establishments were located, they were not paying any attention to this problem. As there were no dedicated parking lots, whenever we enforced the rules and started drives against people for parking their vehicles illegally, people resisted and created tension in the locality,” said the officer.

The worst-affected portions along this road are the stretches between Rajmahal Square and Master Canteen Square, Master Canteen Square and Kharavela Nagar police station, and areas near Ram Mandir and Big Bazaar Square.

Local traders and commuters alleged that the traffic chaos was at its worst in front of a jewellery shop and hotel near Master Canteen Square. Illegally-parked vehicles, a temple in the middle of the road and errant autorickshaw drivers all contribute to traffic chaos on this particular spot. The situation goes out of control during peak hours. Though a traffic aid post is located nearby, the police personnel only remain silent spectators.

“We see the police come and tow away vehicles once in a while. They even fine people for illegally parking their vehicles. But, the people are hardly bothered. They just remove their vehicles when the police enforcement team arrives. Later, the situation becomes as usual. Moreover, the police dare not take action for illegal parking in front of some business establishments as their owners exercise power,” said Dhananjay Suar, a private company employee.

Pedestrians are the worst affected lot by this entire problem. “Apart from illegally-parked two-wheelers, some hawkers also encroach upon the footpaths on Janpath,” said Prabhubrata Behera, a local resident.

Similar problems also exist on the stretch between Rajmahal Square and Master Canteen. An ongoing construction only adds more to the traffic chaos there.

Assistant commissioner of police Binod Das said that they had identified 73 parking lots for development in the city, including several spots along the Janpath.

“We had submitted a report to the authorities concerned. But no action has yet been taken for developing these parking lots. Once they finish their work, it will be easier for us to deal with issues related to illegal parking,” said Das.

Mayor Anant Narayan Jena also confirmed that a joint team of officials of the corporation, the general administration department, the roads and buildings department and several other departments concerned had earmarked several spaces in the city for the development of parking lots. “We hope to be able to start the work shortly,” said the mayor.