| Fast food stalls on SP Verma Road’s footpath. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
There is no room for pedestrians on the footpaths along SP Verma Road, thanks to the extension of the IT hardware and peripheral shops.
Compounding the problem are haphazardly parked vehicles on the pavements on either side of the road, forcing people to walk on the road making them vulnerable to accidents. Several tea and fast food stalls, too, leave no space for passers-by.
Shopkeepers cite lack of parking facilities as the biggest reason for encroachment on the footpaths. “There are hundreds of shops and offices here but compared to that, the parking space is not sufficient. All buyers, whether on two-wheelers or four-wheelers, park their vehicles on the footpath or the roadside,” said Amit Kumar, an employee in a computer wholesale shop.
Several pedestrians have been brushed or hit by vehicles while walking on the road. “Around six months ago, I was hit by a two-wheeler while walking in front of the litti stalls on the northern corner of SP Verma Road. I did not suffer any major injury as the bike was moving slowly, but I am scared to walk on the road after that incident,” said Saurav Kumar, a Kidwaipuri resident.
Professionals working at establishments on SP Verma Road claimed that walking on the busy street was a daunting task. “There is no space for pedestrians on SP Verma Road. The road is not very wide and on top of that, vendors have put up stalls. One can hardly walk 50m on the footpath without hitting a haphazardly parked vehicle or a stall,” said Kumar Pratyush, a private firm employee.
“We do not have the authority to identify the parking space. Nor can we conduct anti-encroachment drive. But still we keep on regulating the vehicular parking, when it obstructs traffic. The civic body and the district administration should conduct drives for removing encroachments,” said Satyavir Singh, superintendent of police, traffic, Patna.
The civic body claimed it had conducted anti-encroachment drives in the past. “We removed the fast food stalls and even a cowshed but they come back. I have asked the ward inspectors in a meeting on Saturday to take steps and carry out an anti-encroachment drive within a couple of days,” said Vishal Anand, executive officer, New Capital circle, PMC.