The tragic mishap at Khandagiri Square on Sunday evening has exposed the ineffective traffic control and planning in the City.
While the incident has once again given rise to the demand for a fly-over at the important junction which was overlooked in the past, the crying need is that of improving management of the chaotic traffic.
Khandagiri Square is a critical traffic junction given the fact that the busy National Highway is flanked on both sides by several kilometre-long service roads, but the major problem for traffic management has been the mushrooming of shopping establishments abutting these roads.
They not only encourage vehicular parking on the roads, but also cause serious traffic snarls during peak hours.
With encroachers taking over the by-pass and service roads, vehicular movement is badly affected.
Bhubaneswar (Ekamra) MLA Ashok Panda, who rushed to the accident spot, echoed the feelings.
“It is about time attention is given to clear the congestion in the area and alternatives are planned for the small-time traders because the region experiences serious jam,” he said.
Interestingly, a number of festivals and jatra companies use the neighbourhood during the winter season which adds to the problem as traffic flow multiplies during evening hours.
In 2011, the State Government had proposed to stop vehicular traffic to the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri from NH 5, but is yet to implement the decision. Had there been a restriction on vehicles, the mishap could have been averted.
The mishap and traffic congestion also brought to focus the need for a flyover at the junction although a plan in the past was mooted only to be shelved because of the proximity of the historic Khandagiri and Udayagiri Hills.
Immediately after the incident, locals were up in arms over how a dumper was allowed entry into the city limits during the prohibited hours as the Commissionerate Police has a imposed a ban on such heavy vehicles from 8 am to 10 pm.
Allegations flew thick and fast over traffic police turning a blind eye to such vehicles. Locals demanded action against the personnel responsible for the accident.