The under-construction Ranchi-Patratu Road is pock-marked and squelchy on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Monsoon, when it finally arrives in Jharkhand, may bring relief to many, but not surely for those who depend on a particular 3km stretch of the under-construction Ranchi-Patratu Road.
With the 40-feet road being widened to double its size as part of the ambitious four-laning project, electric poles, underground water pipelines and trees are being removed, as a result of which potholes, craters and ditches have surfaced on the portion between Kishori Yadav and Chandni Chowk.
If a ride down the road is not nightmarish enough at present, monsoon is going to make matters worse. Local residents, shopkeepers and commuters fear that if the widening work is not wrapped up before monsoon sets in, chances of accidents will double.
“As it is, the road between Kishori Yadav and Chandni Chowk has become too dangerous to navigate these days with the craters and ditches inviting accidents. Once the rains arrive, the ditches will be filled with water and commuters won’t be able to tell the craters from the smooth surface of the road, leading to mishaps. It will be more dangerous at night,” Praveen Kumar Singh, a resident of Lake View Colony, told The Telegraph.
A peon of the agriculture department, Someshwar Choudhary, agreed.
“At present, it takes more than an hour to cross just half a kilometre from Krishi Bhavan to Ram Mandir in the evening as one has to carefully negotiate the potholes — the prime reason behind traffic congestion. One can only imagine what will be situation like in rainy season,” he said.
Businessmen, who run establishments along the stretch, have already started counting losses.
Restaurant owner Om Prakash Sharma complained that the number of customers had started dwindling ever since the road widening project started.
“Earlier, the footfall was 2,000 daily while hardly 500 customers visit my restaurant now, thanks to the invasion by earthmovers and cranes that create a lot of disturbances. I am sure the rains will drive away all the customers,” he said.
Ramadhar Singh, manager of an amusement park, also spoke of lesser number of visitors.
“Before the four-laning work started, the average footfall on a day was 800. The count has now come down to 400k,” he pointed out.
A desperate Ravi Kumar, a BA Part II student of Ranchi College who has to take the stretch regularly, has started praying for speedy completion of the project. “I know whatever ordeal we are facing is because of development. Hence, instead of deliberating on the problem, I have started praying to God for early construction of the road,” he said.
But it seems that Ravi’s and others’ prayers will fall on deaf ears.
A senior official of Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited, which is widening the road on behalf of IL&FS — the construction firm carrying out four-laning work — said that it was not possible for the company to wrap up the work before July-end.
This, despite chief minister Arjun Munda urging the engineers to ensure that all roads were free of potholes by June 30 during a review on June 6-7.
“The road will be widened only after underground pipelines, cables and trees are removed. I hope we will be able to complete work by the end of July,” the official said, requesting anonymity.