The road passing in front of Abhinna Chandra Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Unit-III connects Sachivalaya Marg with Janpath. The stretch that joins Janpath is in poor shape. Two-wheelers often skid here because of a steep slope.
When protesters take over Mahatma Gandhi Marg, vehicles are diverted through this road. However, a large number of vehicles regularly ply on this road. When vehicles take a turn from Janpath to this road, they have to negotiate the incline.
“Recently, my car got damaged as its lower part hit the cemented slope,” said Bibhuti Lenka, a local resident.
Rashmi Rout, a trader, said the steep slope catches many drivers unawares and often leads to accidents. “A motorcyclist hurtling down the road took a heavy fall when he slammed the brakes on seeing the slope. He, however, escaped with minor injuries. Luckily for him, there was no vehicle on the road at that time.”
Residents said that accidents were a regular feature at the junction. “Though it has been in dangerous shape for more than one and half years, the authorities seem least interested about our safety,” said a local resident.
Councillor of ward No. 44 Lala Ashok Kumar Ray said that after residents complained about the stretch, he wrote to the executive engineer and other senior officials of the public works department (PWD) to repair the road. “Though four months have passed since I wrote to them, nothing has been done so far. I will meet them again and seek immediate action,” said Ray.
Executive engineer of PWD division I Manoranjan Tripathy said steps were being taken to break the cemented bridge-like structure that covers a drain.
“After breaking the portion, we will make the slope smooth,” said Tripathy.
The road that connects Ruchika Market, Baramunda Housing Board Colony, Jagannath Vihar and adjoining areas to National Highway-5 has a steep slope in front of Rajdhani College. This is the place where the link touches the national highway. Local residents and traders alleged that this juncture was a mishap zone, but the authorities prefer to look the other way.
“It is difficult to apply brakes to keep vehicles in control as the slope is around 4ft high. When it rains, this gradient poses serious threat to drivers as they fail to negotiate the slope and vehicles skid off the road,” said Arakhita Samal, a local medicine store owner.
Local residents said speeding vehicles on the highway make things worse for those coming down from the PWD road to the NH. Auto-rickshaws parked awkwardly on the road pose a serious threat to motorists coming towards the slope from the Ruchika Market side.
“I was nearly hit by a vehicle coming from Baramunda bus stand side on the NH when an auto-rickshaw was suddenly parked in front of my vehicle while I was on the slope. The authorities are not concerned about our problems,” said Nina Kar, a resident of nearby Pragyan Vihar.
Councillor of ward No. 18 Pratap Kishore Sahoo said the road intersection was dangerous and neither the PWD nor the highway authorities took corrective steps.
“I had raised the matter with contractors and officers of the agency carrying out construction of a flyover bridge at Fire Station Square, but they did not pay any heed,” said Sahoo.
A 15ft stretch on the road connecting Khandagiri Square to Khandagiri-Udayagiri hills, Satyasai Enclave, Khandagiribari and adjacent areas on the Bharatpur side is filled with potholes and craters.
Commuters, who use the stretch, said the road had not improved for years. Though temporary repair of the stretch near Traffic Square is done occasionally, the condition rarely changes.
“Though this road connects the NH-5 to the two hills, the authorities do not take any steps to permanently repair it. Several vehicles have met with accidents on the stretch when the drivers try to negotiate the potholes and craters,” said a local trader.
Over 30,000 people, who use this road regularly, have been battling these potholes for years. But their patience is running out fast.
“If the authorities do not act, we will block the streets in protest,” said Ruturaj Kuanr, a local trader.
Local councillor Sarojini Dalei said people had been complaining about the potholes for a long time and officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were asked to repair the road, which was a crucial link to the tourist spots.
“I have written several letters to the NHAI officials but they have failed to take any step,” said Dalei.
Chief engineer of PWD Bijan Behera said the damaged portion fell under the jurisdiction of the highway authorities. It is they who build and maintain these roads. “We have nothing to say regarding these roads. Our roads are perfectly managed and well maintained,” said Behera
National Highways Authority of India officials refused to comment. However, they passed the buck on the private agency carrying out construction of flyover bridges on NH-5
When contacted, officials of private agency Shree Jagannath Expressways Private Limited also refused to comment. But an officer said, on condition of anonymity, that after construction was over they would look into the issue of damaged roads
Text by Sandip Bal, pictures by Ashwinee Pati