The Shyamali Colony gate, which was locked by Mecon a fortnight ago, in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Around 10,000 residents of South Office Para, a private residential locality adjoining Mecon’s Shyamali Colony in Doranda, are suddenly feeling “cut off” from a bustling part of Ranchi.
A gate in Shyamali Colony that used to open to South Office Para was closed by the management of Mecon a fortnight ago, dealing a huge blow to residents who had been depending on the neighbouring township for everything right from hospital to schools for the past 40 years.
On Monday, a delegation from South Office Para met officials of Mecon, which was spurred by security concerns to close the gate as troublemakers have been frequenting the Doranda colony of late.
Upon the residents’ request, Mecon opened a side gate to allow in two-wheelers and pedestrians for restricted hours.
“The gate was our only link to Shyamali Colony for more than 40 years. A majority of residents of South Office Para — mainly retired employees of Mecon, SAIL, DPS and Jawahar Vidya Mandir — visit hospitals, banks, post office and schools in the Mecon township. Several hostels catering to students of schools in and around Shyamali Colony have been running there. But, with the Mecon management locking the gate, we are in trouble,” said Alok Sengupta, a retired manager of Punjab National Bank.
Gour Banerjee, a former manager of Mecon who now lives in South Office Para, added. “These days, we are travelling 2km extra to reach Shyamali Colony via the AG Office. Suppose there is an emergency at night, residents will find it difficult to rush to Ispat Hospital immediately.”
If residents are unhappy at the long detours, shopkeepers are counting losses. Kartik, who sells chicken at South Office Para, said a large number of his regular customers were from Shyamali Colony.
“Before the gate was put under lock and key, around 60 customers used to come to my shop from there. Now, hardly 20 come,” he rued.
DGM (in-charge) corporate communication, Mecon, Rana Chakraborthy, admitted the inconvenience caused to the public.
“It is the duty of Mecon to ensure proper security for its people. The gate near South Office Para offered free passage to criminals, who committed petty offences like chain snatching and teased girls and women in Shyamali Colony. Hence, the management decided to lock the gate permanently. But after the meeting with local residents, who assured us that they would also remain vigilant against criminals, we are rethinking our decision,” he said.