Mayhem on Patna roads, courtesy encroachments, illegal parking

Illegal parking, indisciplined driving, lane violation and encroachment by roadside vendors have only added to traffic snarls in Patna, especially near schools during their assembly and dispersal time.

Updated: Sep 10, 2018 15:04:23

By Ruchir Kumar

Vegetable vendors have fully encroached the JC Road. (HT Photo )

Traffic snarls have become order of the day in Patna and people’s perception to denote distance in metric unit has changed to time.

Illegal parking, indisciplined driving, lane violation and encroachment by roadside vendors have only added to traffic snarls, especially near schools during their assembly and dispersal time.

Sample this.

The Judge’s Court (JC) Road and its arteries, connecting the civil court on the one end and offices of the district magistrate, deputy development commissioner, sub-divisional officer Patna sadar, deputy commissioner GST and commercial taxes, Bihar Chamber of Commerce and the Bankipore Club, on the other end, is heavily encroached.

Makeshift roadside vegetable vendors at Antaghat, rag-pickers and slum dwellers have erected shanties and live alongside roads, under the very nose of the district administration.

Add to it the mounds of garbage, slush and filth on the JC Road, connecting the DM’s office, near the Bankipore Club, and the road is completely blocked.

Almost 12 years back, the district administration had freed the road of encroachments, broadening the JC Road and its feeder lanes enough even for school buses to ply comfortably.

In so doing, the district administration had made the JC Road one-way, allowing vehicles accessing the St Joseph’s Convent High School and civil court to enter from Ashok Rajpath and exit through the JC Road and its feeder lanes to Kargil Chowk. The arrangement, however, was short-lived.

Traffic snarl outside St Joseph’s Convent. ( HT Photo )

Patients at risk

Today, however, ambulances, with hooters blaring, stranded on Ashok Rajpath, especially during dispersal of the St Joseph’s Convent, is a common sight. Two government health hubs — the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology (IGIC) — which have a combined average daily patient footfall of 3,000, are located on Ashok Rajpath.

Hospital administrators are definitely not happy with traffic chaos on Ashok Rajpath.

IGIC deputy director Dr AK Jha said, “Nearly 30% lives can be saved if a person gets proper medication or medical intervention within the first hour of heart attack that we call the ‘golden hour’. The traffic jam on Ashok Rajpath is a huge hindrance for heart patients to reach our facility in time, compromising lives of several patients.”

PMCH superintendent Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad admitted that doctors, ambulance drivers and even patients often complained to him about the loss of precious time in negotiating traffic snarls on Ashok Rajpath during an emergency.

It is not just doctors and patients who complain. Even guardians of schoolchildren rue their luck.

“Vehicles are parked in a haphazard manner in front of schools. There is no semblance of traffic rules, with motorists using the same route to enter and exit. There is complete mayhem around St Jospeh’s Convent, especially during school assembly and dispersal time,” said Anup Kumar, a government officer and parent, whose daughter Daksha Shreshtha Singh studies in class 8.

“The JC Road stretch through Antaghat and DM’s office, which was once used as an exit route for the school, has been sacrificed to encroachers, mostly rag pickers and those selling vegetables. My wife Shweta and I park our car some 500-800 metres away from school to pick our child in afternoon,” he added.

Traffic bottlenecks

Some other traffic sore points in the city are the Budha Colony-Digha road tri-junction near the BD Public School; Bailey Road around the Mount Carmel High School adjoining the Patna Women’s College; Patliputra-Kurji road near Notre Dame Academy and the P&M Mall; west Gandhi Maidan area near St Xavier’s High School; Lodipur area near the Bankipore Girls High School; and the Kurji-Digha road leading to St Michael’s High School and Don Bosco Academy.

Road leading to the BD Public School in Buddha Colony. ( HT Photo )

The Bailey Road stretch, diagonal to the Patna high court, is also congested during assembly and dispersal of the Mount Carmel High School, with haphazard parking of vehicles in 2-3 parallel rows. There are also motorists, who add to the mess by making U-turn or driving brazenly in the wrong lane to access the cut leading to the high court and the LN Mishra Institute of Economic Development and Social Changes.

Similarly, the Buddha Colony-Digha Road tri-junction, where vehicles to BD Public School converge, is another bottleneck.

Further north, the Patliputra-Kurji road also cries for attention, with vehicles illegally parked on roads near the P&M Mall, Notre Dame Academy and the Loyola High School.

Administration’s ‘defence’

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said a reason for the traffic snarls is that most Patna schools like the St Michael’s, St Xavier’s, Mount Carmel High School, Loyola High School, and the Notre Dame Academy or the Patna Women’s College and the JD Women’s College were located on main roads.

“We have been planning throughout to regulate traffic, but the problem is that many educational institutions are on main roads and every parent wants to drop and pick up their child right in front of the school gate, where they park their vehicles. The incoming and outgoing route of most schools is the same. Most schools do not have alternate routes. So, it’s difficult to make routes one-way,” said Maharaaj.

Reminded about the one-way traffic regulation near the St Jospeph’s Convent for unhindered flow of vehicles to the PMCH and the IGIC, the SSP said, “This seems doable. We will work it out soon and explore similar options for other schools as well.”

Bailey Road in Patna where Carmel High School is located. ( HT Photo )

Patna district magistrate (DM) Kumar Ravi also expressed surprise about why a “successful traffic arrangement” on Ashok Rajpath and JC Road had stopped. “We will certainly explore and re-implement it,” the DM said.

Talking about his plans to tackle jams, the DM said, “We have asked schools to park their buses on their campuses. We are also soliciting their support to regulate parking menace in front of educational institutions,” added Ravi.

Lawyer Ray Saurabh Nath, however, pointed out that only a few schools had buses of their own. So, school administrators immediately wash their hands off them.

“Most private contractors, who ply these buses, are not allowed to park their vehicles inside schools. Add to it the haphazard parking of private vehicles, wrong lane driving, and there is traffic chaos, even risking lives of children near educational institutions,” said Nath.

The SSP accepted that traffic planning was hitherto primarily restricted to deputing cops during school assembly and dispersal time for regulating traffic.

Photographs narrate how effective the system has been.

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 15:04:23


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