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Mission to free footpath loses fizz

Lack of coordination among authorities acted as a deterrent to a bid to remove squatters from footpaths on Friday.

Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) woke up from its slumber and sent a team for conducting an anti-encroachment drive on Digha road a week after The Telegraph started highlighting the rampant encroachment on footpaths along the city streets.

The team, however, sat idle at Digha police station all day because of “lack of support from the police as well as the district administration”.

The civic body officials at the site said they could not conduct the drive in the absence of sufficient police force, “which never arrived”.

“We first went to the control room at the Police Lines on Friday morning. There we were assured that a police team would be sent to the spot in a while. Thus, we went to the Digha police station and waited for the team to arrive,” said Uday Shankar Paswan, one of the sanitary inspectors of PMC.

He added: “We could not launch the anti-encroachment drive by ourselves because there was a possibility of retaliation from the squatters. The drive could not be conducted because the police team never arrived.”

Sources in the district administration said the required force could not be sent because most of the personnel were diverted to the students’ protest at Buddha Marg and Patna University.

“Today (Friday), we focused totally on the students’ protests at the office of Bihar School Examination Board at Buddha Marg. The agitation continued for the third day. Some contingents were also sent to Patna University because of a protest there as well,” said Surendra Prasad, city magistrate, Patna.

Senior PMC officials said the drive would now be conducted after a couple of days.

“We shall now fix another date for removing encroachers in a coordinated way with the police,” said Vishal Anand, the executive officer of New Capital circle of the PMC.


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