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Shanties take over political ‘space’

Rampant encroachment on the power corridor like in other parts of the city has rendered the footpaths out of bounds for the common man.

The thoroughfare at Beer Chand Patel Marg — the political hub of Patna — is comparatively in better condition than other roads but the walkway depicts the same sorry picture of poor maintenance.

Slum-dwellers have set up makeshift shanties on the footpath and reside here throughout the year. The service lane is also encroached upon.

A number of vendors selling clay pottery can also be seen all through the year on the footpath on the southern side of Beer Chand Patel Marg. A number of tricycle rickshaws can also be seen parked on the footpath on either side of this road.

Residents here are livid over the problem. “Slum dwellers have encroached upon the footpath and service lanes at various places. Apart from inconveniencing pedestrians, their presence poses a security threat,” said Mahesh Thakur, a resident of Beer Chand Patel Marg.

“The service lane and the adjoining footpath in front of our office at Sultan Palace has turned into a slum dwellers’ den. They have made their shanties here and we are forced to walk on the road amid busy traffic,” said an employee of Bihar State Road Transport Corporation.

The state headquarters of three main political parties — BJP, JD(U) and RJD are also located here. “The encroachment on the footpath and the service lane here causes a lot of inconvenience to people. One cannot walk more than 100m on the footpath here without hitting a shanty or roadside vendor. As the road is comparatively better here, vehicles pick up speed making pedestrians vulnerable to accidents. Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) should remove the squatters in no time,” said Ashok Bhatt, the BJP’s state media in-charge.

The civic body claimed that squatters would be evicted soon. “We would conduct an anti-encroachment drive in some of the VIP areas such as Hardinge Road and Beer Chand Patel Marg within a day or two. The drive would be carried out in a systematic manner so that the squatters don’t return,” said Vishal Anand, executive officer, New Capital circle, PMC.