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Shops snuff life out of roads
- Pavement out of bounds, pedestrians forced to take chock-a-block thoroughfares

Exhibition Road, by and large, portrays the prevailing footpath culture in the city. Vehicles and shops can be seen on the walkways and people are forced to walk on the busy carriageway.

Shops, mostly of automobile spare parts, haphazardly parked vehicles and tea stalls, have encroached upon majority of the footpath stretches here. Result, professionals like Piyush Sinha walk on the street, risking life and limb.

“Most shops in the buildings along Exhibition Road have encroached upon the footpath. Since most of them are automobile spare parts shops, the vehicles are parked on the footpath. There are many tea stalls on the walkways, forcing pedestrians to take the street. There have been incidents of motorists colliding with passers-by on the chock-a-block road,” said Piyush, who works in a private bank here.

The problem has been compounded over the past few months owing to the construction of a flyover. The carriageway on Exhibition Road is originally 9m wide of which 4m has been taken for construction of the extension of Chiraiyatand railway overbridge. The already busy thoroughfare has been choked after work started from November 2013.

“Pedestrians do not have a safe passage here. Shops had encroached upon the footpath and now the construction of a flyover has left very little space. The remaining road space is choked with vehicular movement. People like me have to walk risking accidents,” said Mahesh Thakur, a resident.

Apart from professionals, schoolchildren and their parents are worried. “I have to take Exhibition Road to drop my son to school. It’s not possible to walk on the footpath, as not even a stretch of 50m is encroachment-free. The culprits are the shops, which do not have proper parking space,” said marketing executive Saurav Kumar.

When The Telegraph visited Exhibition Road on Thursday, it found shops running from the basement of buildings. It also spotted numerous vehicles parked on the road.

The civic body, however, claimed to carry out an anti-encroachment drive within a week or two. “Footpath encroachment on Exhibition Road is a priority and we are aware that a number of shops are responsible. We are co-ordinating with the district administration and traffic police to conduct an anti-encroachment drive within a week or two. If the shopkeepers repeat the offence after the drive, we would impose a penalty,” said Vishal Anand, executive officer, New Capital circle, Patna Municipal Corporation.