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Raze drive: Hit some, miss some
Squatters occupy road to station

Bhubaneswar, June 8: The civic and development authorities undertook a joint drive yesterday to demolish encroachments around Master Canteen Square in front of the city railway station, but another set of squatters continue to live on in peace a kilometre away.

The encroachment that missed the raze action is on another side of the railway station. The encroachers here have blocked an approach road to the station inconveniencing commuters.

Towards the end of Engineers’ Colony, the important thoroughfare connecting the city’s main railway station with Cuttack-Puri national highway has remained blocked for years. The colony is located at Buddha Nagar, a prime residential area of Bhubaneswar.

Commuters face severe difficulty in travelling to the railway station as the approach road has been encroached upon by slum-dwellers at several places, said a member of local residents’ welfare association, Dillip Mohanty.

The illegal occupation of the road by the slum-dwellers has not only caused hardship for the colony residents in commuting through the area, but dumping of garbage on the road is also creating an unhealthy atmosphere.

A senior citizen, Bijaylaxmi Patnaik, recalled that the area and the approach roads were free from encroachment in 1980. “But subsequently, slums came up and from four slums in 1983-84, the number of slums has now gone up to more than 200 now,” said Patnaik, a retired anthropology professor.

The problem of dumping solid waste on the road has aggravated after 2010 as the East Coast Railway constructed a boundary wall to keep their land free from encroachment. With the railway land closed by a boundary wall, the slum dwellers are now dumping their daily waste on the road.

“At night, the road remains fully blocked as slum dwellers park their vans and rickshaws there,” Patnaik said.

Other residents of Buddha Nagar alleged that the civic authorities had made provision for water by digging a bore well, but as pipe-water connections were given on the road, the slum-dwellers are practically living on the road leading up to the station.

Local trader Ranjan Kumar Sahu said the problem of solid waste disposal on road aggravated whenever garbage collection became irregular.

Local councillor Pushpanjali Sethy said: “I will try my best to place to address the grievance of the local resident at the next council meeting of the corporation.”

City health officer Chandrika Prasad Das said: “I personally visited the site several times to ensure better drainage and garbage lifting. The problem is being caused mainly by slum-dwellers and construction of a community toilet can solve the issue to some extent.’’