Traffic chokes roads, Bypass eludes
By Sanjay Kumar Mishra | ENS | Published: 01st June 2013 10:22 AM |
Manifold increase in vehicular traffic in Balangir town, haphazard construction of buildings and geographically strategic location as a gateway to other western as well as southern districts have not only choked the arterial roads of the town but also led to spurt in accident rate. Despite the locals’ demand for a bypass to divert heavy vehicles, the authorities remain complacent to the problem.
Two main roads cross through the town. While one goes from Patna Chowk at the entrance of the town from Sambalpur to Bhagirathi Chowk road via government bus stand and collectorate, the second road takes a diversion from Patna Chowk to reach Bhagirathi Chowk via Ramaia talkies. From Bhagirathi Chowk, the road goes to Tilagarh while from the centre of both roads, there are diversions to Patnagarh on one side and Sonepur on the other.
Since the two roads serve the traffic from four major towns of Western Odisha, the road mishaps have been on an steady increase.
According to official sources, 69 accidents have been reported in the two roads in the last four years with more than 10 people losing their lives. Properties worth more than ` two crores have been destroyed. But unofficially the number of accidents will run into hundreds.
Considering rising number of accidents, the local administration has banned plying of multi-axle heavy vehicles excluding buses on the road from Patna Chowk to Bhagirathi Chowk via government bus stand while the ban is effective on the second road from 6 am to 9 pm. But the ban is openly flouted by the drivers allegedly in compliance with transport and police officials.
The authorities said paper work for the bypass road has already been initiated and work would start soon. As per the plan, a 10-km bypass road will be laid circumventing the town.
The proposed road has been divided into two parts. While 5-km road that will take diversion from Sambalpur road at Madhiapali on the outskirt of Balangir and would touch the Patnagarh road would be constructed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDCO), the other 5-km stretch that would touch Titlagarh road would be taken up by the Public Works Department (PWD).
Executive Engineer of Public Works Department (PWD) Ashok Padhi said, “Ours is the phase-2 work and we will begin it after IDCO finishes its work. We will take up the work from Patnagarh Road to Titlagarh road through the Central school. And then we will connect the Titlagarh Road to the Sonepur Road in NH-57. We are working on land acquisition and preparing estimate for the project which will be completed soon.”
Meanwhile, the NH Division also plans to construct a bypass road of 11.64 km. It will run from Madhiapali to Bijakhaman via Puintala and Khujenpali villages. Assistant Engineer of NH division D Kaibarta said, “The demand of a bypass is not new and the Central Government has completed a survey through SMEC International,” he said.