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Faith on roads proves to be nightmare for motorists in Patna

Many of the 500-odd Durga Puja pandals in Patna have come up in brazen violation of the district administration’s fiat not to encroach upon roads.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2017 17:48 IST
Avinash Kumar and VK Tripathi
Avinash Kumar and VK Tripathi
Hindustan Times, Patna
Durga Puja,Durga Puja pandals,Faith on roads
A puja pandal which has encroached upon the Adalatganj road, leading to Budh Marg, in Patna. (HT photo/Ruchir Kumar )

PATNA: Faith is on roads this Dussehra in Patna. It, for sure, isn’t helping the cause of motorists.

At least 500-odd Durga Puja pandals have come up in the state capital this year — around a hundred more than previous year. Many are in brazen violation of the district administration’s fiat not to encroach upon roads. As such, they are leading to heavy traffic snarl-ups, posing a huge challenge to cops.

Most puja organisers have rode their luck that the district administration would not conduct any verification drive. And, the district administration has not disappointed them.

Take for instance the puja pandal at Adalatganj. It has encroached upon half the road, leading to Budh Marg. The one at Budh Marg and around Pani Tanki in the posh Patliputra Colony also covers a portion of the main thoroughfare. The one on Boring Road is bang on intersection of the Boring-Patliputra and Boring Canal road.

Many puja pandals, which have directly not encroached upon roads, have set up welcome arches and lighting decoration apparatus on the road, constricting the passage.

Overtaken by faith and religious sentiments, the district administration and the police find themselves all too helpless to implement their orders.

A puja pandal on the Boring Road intersection, leading to traffic congestion around the area, in Patna. ( HT photo/Ruchir Kumar )

More than ensuring hassle-free traffic movement, the district administration is busy ensuring that puja pandals do not carry cartoons or pictorial elements on politics and politicians and those, which may hurt sentiments of any person or community.

“We are trying to tell them (puja organisers) to avoid encroaching roads. No matter what you do, the area around pandals is bound to witness overcrowding and congestion. We have deputed personnel to ensure that public inconvenience is minimum,” said Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj.

“Everyone is entitled to celebrate the festival, but it does not mean you block roads and impede traffic,” said Amit Kumar, a distraught auto driver negotiating the maze of traffic on Thursday.

A vehicle parked alongside a puja pandal covering a portion of the Patliputra-Pani Tanki road, in Patna. ( HT photo/Ruchir Kumar )

“Vehicular traffic is never affected on main thoroughfares of Kolkata during Dussehra. Bamboo barricading is put up on road flanks leading to puja pandals so that pedestrians do not spill on to roads. No main road is allowed to be encroached by puja pandals. At road intersections, policemen hold ropes across the road to periodically stop traffic and allow pedestrians to cross the road before again allowing vehicles to pass, while holding back pedestrians,” said business executive Saurabh Kumar, who resides in Kolkata.

That would mean taking a lesson or two on traffic management from Kolkata Police. Are the Patna district administration and its police force open to it?

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 17:48 IST