A smooth drive past the R-Block main gate may soon become a reality for motorists descending the western slope of Mithapur flyover, thanks to chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s initiative.
Manjhi on Friday spared a thought for the motorists facing a harrowing time owing to the closing of the R-Block gate. He asked his secretary Atish Chandra to ensure that the gate remains open even during protests and rallies, apart from those held during Assembly sessions, to prevent people from hassles. District magistrate (DM) N. Saravana Kumar has promised to take steps in this connection.
The Telegraph recently reported that a gate had been constructed beneath the Mithapur flyover, 100m from the R-Block main gate, which could be shut to prevent protesters and rallyists from approaching the R-Block main gate.
However, on the first day of the budget session, the new gate at Hardinge Road was kept open, while the R-Block main gate was shut, inconveniencing motorists and forcing them to take a U-turn on reaching the gate.
When he got to know about the situation at the R-Block gate, Manjhi, sitting in his official chamber at the state Legislative Assembly, said: “It is a serious matter. Commuters should not face this problem just because of a handful of protesters staging dharna. If this is the situation, then what is the use of constructing the flyover? I was not aware about this issue. But now, I will ensure that this problem gets solved.”
Looking at Chandra, Manjhi said: “Just see Atishji what alternative could be found in this connection and try to solve this as soon as possible.”
Sanjay Kumar Singh, the special secretary to the CM’s secretariat, also sitting in the chamber, listened to Manjhi’s order.
When asked, district administration officials said it would take time to close the Mithapur flyover owing to logistical issues.
“On the DM’s order, we have inspected the new gate area and found that the idea was great. However, before adopting the idea, we have to set up a police control room and a shelter for police personnel before turning the place a permanent spot to hold back the protesters. Residents would be relieved of the R-Block gate pain shortly,” said a senior district official.
When the flyover’s 350m western arm was opened for the public on August 14, 2012, it brought smiles on residents’ faces for a few days. Soon, the hope vanished and it became a major problem area for commuters.
Whenever the Assembly is in session, NGOs, social activists, independent organisations and unions stage dharna and protest march at the R-Block gate to grab maximum attention across the state.
On Friday, a few members of Bihar Viklang Adhikar Manch tried to gherao the Assembly building to press their demands but the police stopped them by closing the R-Block gate around 11am. Within a few minutes, traffic went haywire. Normality was restored only after it was opened after 1pm, inconveniencing commuters for over two hours.
“It is high time that the district administration addresses this problem. If another gate has already been constructed to rid the menace, then why is it not being used? What are they waiting for? It’s frustrating to face such a problem, that too in the sultry weather,” said motorist Avinash Kumar, a resident of Punaichak.
Nishant Sinha, a resident of Rajendra Nagar, said: “The budget session will continue for a month. Are we supposed to face this problem for that long? The officials concerned must look for an early resolution on an urgent basis.”