Democratic protests or decongestion of rally routes — the dilemma of priority could not have come at a worse time for the administration than this week.
With the Assembly meeting for the budget session this Friday, the district administration has chalked out some strategies to minimise effect of rallies on the traffic and commuters.
Sources said Dakbungalow roundabout, one of the key and busy intersections in the city, is all set to be announced as a restricted zone for the protesters, who usually take Fraser Road from Gandhi Maidan to R-Block.
Subdivisional officer (sadar) Pankaj Dikshit told The Telegraph that it was a difficult proposition for them to keep the Dakbungalow Roundabout clean from any kind of rallies or protest marches since they had very little options.
“Any kind of traffic snarl at the roundabout results in a rippling effect across the city. Each of the Assembly sessions witnesses an increase of protest marches and rallies. The administration will not allow any rally to stop at the roundabout. They will have to keep moving on both sides of the road and keep the middle way free for vehicles. There will be strict vigil on them and they will not be allowed to stop at the Dakbungalow area even for one moment. This will definitely reduce the hassles of the commuters,” he said.
The sources said the administration was thinking to create a system to keep the Dakbungalow roundabout away from rallies.
“Most of the rallies in Patna originate from Gandhi Maidan and they aim to go to the R-Block where the gates are kept closed during the Assembly sessions so that they don’t get near the House. Before any rally, those organising it have to take permission from the administration and they are told about the route and the regulations,” said a senior official.
A rally starting from Gandhi Maidan usually passes through Fraser Road to reach the Dakbungalow roundabout and then moves further to Patna Junction roundabout from where they enter the New Market and then move towards the R-Block,” the official said.
He added: “There have been some thoughts about coming up with a new route which can be used by the ones in the rally which does not touch the roundabout. The route could be longer and will also result in some snarls. But the main roundabout will remain free and thus the traffic problems will not be very serious.”
The sources said though the alternative route was not decided, a path crossing the district magistrate’s office, his residence, Rajapur Pul, Boring Road, could be an option.
“This is a much longer route but will ensure that the Dakbungalow roundabout will not be blocked. If this route is taken, the Income Tax roundabout or the Hartali Mor will see some traffic but then effective administration can ensure that no snarls take place. There are areas, which have been declared no-rally zone. Some of them include the road towards Kotwali T-junction and further towards the Bailey Road from Dakbungalow roundabout. The road towards the Sachivalaya area from the R-Block, the road towards the airport from any point among others,” another official said.
R.S. Chaudhary, former chief town planner of the urban development and housing department, said options to keep the roundabout free from rallies were very few. “The city itself is like east to ewest and west to east. The route of the Boring Road is one of the options. However, Gandhi Maidan can too be liberated from jams and rallies should be allowed to originate from the Digha area. In a bid to keep Dakbungalow clear, there needs to be a proper planning first. Moreover, the administration can also take one step ahead and ban the rallies once and for all,” Chaudhary said.
Commuters said the administration needed to act fast. “Many a time, the protesters stand and block the roundabout and the police hardly do nothing. The end sufferers are common people whose entire routine suffer,” Ravi Bhushan, who works in a bank, said.