The stretch of Bailey Road between Jagdeo Path and Sheikhpura Mor has turned into a nightmare for commuters because of the ongoing construction of a flyover and rampant encroachment of the thoroughfare.
Half of the road on both sides of the median has been blocked off for the construction of the flyover. Most of the other half is either covered by construction debris or encroached upon by vegetable vendors.
As a result, vehicles often move at a snail’s pace along the narrow stretch of the remaining right of way on both sides of the road.
“Earlier I used to cover the distance of around 2km on this stretch in around 10 minutes. But now there are such traffic jams that it takes me around half an hour to cover the same distance, especially during peak hours in the morning and evening,” said Avinash Kumar, a resident of Jagdeo Path.
Frequent traffic jams along the stretch of Bailey Road, where the new flyover is coming up, have forced many people to take alternative routes.
“I have stopped going through the Jagdeo Path-Sheikhpura Mor stretch of the Bailey Road because of the frequent snarls. Now, I take lanes through Friends Colony and Shashtri Nagar to reach Bailey Road at Hanuman Mandir. There are hardly any vehicles on the lanes and it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to cover the distance of around 4-5km,” said Vijayendra Kumar, a resident of Ashiana Nagar.
The Jagdeo Path-Sheikhpura Mor flyover would be the first one in the city. It is being constructed to de-congest the Bailey Road stretch.
On February 2 last year, the cabinet gave its approval to this project for a total outlay of Rs 161.97 crore. The Centre would provide Rs 48 crore and the rest — Rs 113.97 crore — would be provided from the state’s planned expenditure.
While the commuters struggle to cover the short stretch, the authorities blame each other for the quandary.
Officials of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited (BRPNNL) — the executing agency for the flyover project — claim that though work is progressing as scheduled but at times, their equipment, like tippers and cranes get stuck in the snarl, which slows down the progress of the work.
“Many people blame the ongoing work on the flyover for the snarls but it is not correct,” said a senior official of the BRPNNL. “There is sufficient stretch of right of way left on both sides of the road through which vehicles can move swiftly. However, the vegetable vendors have encroached upon both sides of the entire stretch of this road. Construction debris from the under-construction buildings have also been piled up, causing problems for the commuters.”
Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) is responsible for the removal of encroachment from the streets. The BRPNNL officials claim that they have written several letters to the civic body but in vain.
The PMC officials, however, passed the buck on to the police.
“We conduct anti-encroachment drives on a routine basis and remove the encroachers. However, the responsibility to ensure that the encroachers do not return lies with the local police station,” said a PMC official, adding that the civic body would conduct a drive to remove the encroachers from the stretch within the next couple of days.
The PMC board in its meeting on July 27 had approved a penalty of Rs 1,000 for piling construction debris on the road.
Senior police officers were not available to comment.
The construction of the flyover began in December last year. It is expected to be completed by 2015.
A BRPNNL official said: “We have done the piling work on 28 of total 95 pillars. People would start seeing slabs on these pillars from the month of September.”