Cars and SUVs parked illegally at Aam Bagan grounds in Sakchi on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Aam Bagan grounds in Sakchi, a nine-decade old green lung and a landmark in the heart of the city, is rapidly turning into an unauthorised parking area.
Parking of buses, cars and two-wheelers apart, garages are mushrooming on encroached areas and construction materials are being freely dumped on the four-acre grounds, rendering the space unsuitable for outdoor games or jogging.
Some 10 long-distance buses and numerous four wheelers and two-wheelers can be seen parked across the grounds from morning till evening.
Vehicles criss-crossing the grounds at all times of the day raise fear of mishaps for students of state-run high school Rajasthan Vidya Mandir, located in the northern part of the green lung. The vehicular movement also inconveniences people visiting Aam Bagan Masjid on the southern end of the grounds.
“It is quite unsafe, especially for school students, as vehicles move at a high speeds while crossing Rajasthan Vidya Mandir. We have repeatedly asked Jusco authorities to construct a boundary wall, but nothing has been done so far,” said additional district programme officer of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Prakash Kumar.
Raja Choudhary, vice-president of The Bengal Club, adjacent to the green lung, expressed anger and anguish over encroachment menace on the grounds.
“We played in this maidan when we were children. Now, there is no space left for even walking leisurely. You never know when a vehicle will hit you from behind. Our club has decided to approach East Singhbhum deputy commissioner about these problems,” said 54-year-old Choudhary, also associated with the organising committee of Jamshedpur Sarbojanin Durga Puja, held on Aam Bagan grounds.
Vehicle owners, however, cited their own reasons for parking on the grounds.
“Sakchi, despite being a commercial hub, lacks sufficient parking space. The area close to Aam Bagan has several reputed educational institutions and private firms. One cannot expect people to park their vehicles on the road. What harm is there if we park it on the grounds,” asked a middle-aged executive of a realty firm near Shitla Mandir, requesting anonymity.
When contacted, East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal expressed his surprise over such rampant encroachment and promised to look into it.
“The grounds have been leased to Tata Steel by the state and any encroachment for parking purposes will not be tolerated. We will definitely look into it,” said Kaushal.
Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco, which looks after maintenance of the grounds, rued the alleged lack of co-operation from district administration authorities.
“We have a plan to construct a boundary wall with gates so that illegal parking can be curbed,” said Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan.
He added that they needed the administration’s help for clearing the green lung.
“We have written to the administration many times, but to no avail. We will write to them and the local police station again and ask for help to remove encroachers,” he said.