Pedestrians elbowed out, footpaths along Buddha Marg epitomise peaceful co-existence of stray cows and haphazardly parked vehicles.
Walkways along the road housing two offices of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) are mostly encroached upon or damaged. Makeshift stalls and autorickshaws leave no room for pedestrians on the footpath adjacent to the PMC building near the General Post Office (GPO) roundabout.
The footpath on the western side of Mauryalok, housing the PMC headquarters, is no different. Strays cows and haphazardly parked vehicles keep pedestrians at bay from the pavement along Buddha Marg right under the nose of civic body office.
Pappu Sharma, the owner of one of the Buddha Marg-facing shops in Mauryalok, claimed that stray cattle were a threat to pedestrians. “People cannot walk either on the footpath or on the roadside because of the stray cows. As a result, people are at times hit by speeding vehicles. The civic body has never initiated any action against the owners of the stray cattle despite its headquarters at the Mauryalok,” said Sharma.
The damaged pavement right in front of Buddha Marg entrance of Mauryalok adds to the woes of pedestrians. Worse, the PMC has placed two public trash bins there.
In front of MG Ashiana Plaza, barely 50m north of PMC building, the hurdles change to cars parked on the footpath. A constable on duty said: “We are here to regulate traffic, removing illegally parked vehicles is not our job. Moreover, if we try to take action against the owners of these vehicles, they would allege that we are harassing them for money. This parking menace will end only if the senior officers issue orders.”
Few roadside dhabas (eateries) have also come up on the footpaths along Buddha Marg, forcing pedestrians to walk on the street.
Residents were furious when asked about the obstacles on walkways. “This is the height of callousness by the PMC. If the civic body officials cannot provide encroachment-free footpath right under their nose, where can they?” asked Amit Kumar, a businessman.
Chandrashekhar Prasad, a state government employee, told The Telegraph in front of the planetarium on Buddha Marg: “One cannot walk even 50m on the footpaths along this road without hitting a stall or a haphazardly parked vehicle. Worst is the situation of footpaths from the northern tip of Mithapur rail over-bridge to the GPO roundabout, where the road is too narrow. Such bad condition of footpaths makes me believe that the PMC is not at all concerned about pedestrians.”
The civic body claimed that the rain had delayed an anti-footpath encroachment drive in the city, which would cover Buddha Marg as well.
“We talked to the district administration and traffic police for conducting an exhaustive anti-encroachment drive but we could not launch it because of rain. The drive will definitely start once the rain stops,” said Vishal Anand, the executive officer of New Capital circle, PMC.