The Telegraph
Monday , June 9 , 2014
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Breathe easy on bridge

- Ban on entry of heavy trucks & overtaking, additional policemen help decongest flow

Sweating it out in buses or other vehicles while remaining stuck in a traffic jam on Mahatma Gandhi Setu for hours and getting late for work could soon become a thing of the past.

Strict implementation of a fresh set of traffic rules and regulations on Mahatma Gandhi Setu has helped the city police to salvage the situation and spell relief for harried commuters.

The bridge, which connects north Bihar with the state capital, had earlier witnessed chock-a-block traffic snarls for several days with vehicles stuck bumper to bumper for long hours, forcing chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to intervene and take stock of the situation last week.

The 5.575km bridge has not witnessed any traffic snarl after the state government banned the entry of 10-wheeled trucks on it. Overtaking of vehicles has been strictly prohibited and additional police forces deployed to regulate the movement of traffic. There are plans to install closed-circuit television cameras at one or two places more to keep a close watch on the activities of the men-in-uniform, who have been accused of extorting bribe from the truck drivers, leading to traffic jam.

After implementation of the new traffic regulation system, the situation on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu has improved a lot, bringing smiles on the faces of commuters.

Expressing his feelings over the improved situation, Annu Devi (35), a resident of Muzaffarpur, said: “There is no traffic snarl on the bridge today (Sunday). Though the vehicles are moving at a snail’s pace, the commuters have no grudge against the law-enforcing agency. Kam se kam gaadi to chal rahi hai (the vehicles are moving at least).”

Annu, who shuttles between Patna and Muzaffarpur on a regular basis, was all praise for the chief minister for adopting initiatives to improve the situation.

Echoing similar views, Manoj Kumar (22), a student, said he had come to Patna from Hajipur to appear for his examinations.

“I did not face any problem today (Sunday). I could reach the examination centre on time and am now returning home. It is a fact that the situation has improved in the past two to three days. I hope the situation on the bridge remains the same in future too,” he said. Sharda Sinha (44), who is employed in a multi-national company at Hajipur, said earlier, the situation on the bridge had deteriorated to such an extent that she had to proceed on leave for a week. “I used to reach the office late. Even crossing the bridge on a two-wheeler was not an easy task. But thank God, there is smooth traffic on the bridge these days,” she added.

Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj said more policemen have been deployed to regulate the traffic on the bridge. A team of 40 policemen, headed by a deputy superintendent of police, has already been deployed on the bridge.

“An additional 40 policemen have been drafted for manning the traffic, which was earlier being managed by 60 personnel. They would patrol the entire stretch, starting right from Zero Mile on the southern end, through the middle of the bridge to the northern end, which falls under the jurisdiction of Patna police,” explained the senior superintendent of police.

Earlier, 60 policemen were deployed to regulate the flow of traffic on the bridge, which had become synonymous with disruptions and traffic snarls.

“The policemen on duty have been asked to act strict and impose penalties on vehicles violating traffic rules and regulations. Overtaking of vehicles has been completely banned. Policemen have been deployed in adequate numbers between span number 36 and span number 48 to regulate the flow of vehicles. At present, repair work is on from span number 36 to span number 42,” the SSP added.

Scores of government employees, especially senior officials posted at Hajipur, also heaved a sigh of relief.

“I had to take up accommodation in a hotel at Hajipur for several days because of the continuing traffic snarls on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu. My family resides in Patna. I cannot bear expenses of staying at two different places. So I have settled with my family in the capital and I prefer to shuttle to Hajipur on a daily basis,” said a deputy collector-rank officer.

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