ROURKELA: Amid increasing vehicular traffic in Rourkela city, the administration has belatedly started taking serious steps to widen the congested main road with a demolition drive for past four days to acquire every inch of encroached Government land.
Yet, success of the eviction drive rests on the highly congested stretch from Daily Market area to the MS Square amid fear of interference by petty politicians.
Sources said it took the administration seven years to complete four-laning of 5.5-km road from Panposh Square to Sundargarh District Central Cooperative Bank Ltd (SDCCB) at Uditnagar.
Rourkela ADM K Sudershan Chakravorty said work order has been issued for widening 700 metres of main road from SDCCB towards the MS Square along with construction of parallel drains and pavement. In next phase, the rest area upto MS Square would be cleared.
“The administration is recapturing the Government land and has been able to acquire seven to 15 feet extra space to widen the road stretch and create space for vehicle parking,” the ADM said.
Sources said the combined population of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) limits and Rourkela Steel Plant is about 5.25 lakhs and the area along the main road with enormous commercial activities serves as the heartland of the undivided city. As per the records of Regional Transport Office, the number of vehicles in the city has grown 12 times in 25 years. At present, there are 1.8 to two lakh vehicles in the city and the number is alarmingly rising. During peak hours, the traffic on the main road stretch from Daily Market to Singh Building area takes alarming proportion with shop-keepers and roadside vendors violating traffic rules.
Previous attempts to remove encroachments from the same stretch had failed with petty politicians stonewalling the administration’s efforts.
A daily commuter, Shiv Shankar Sharma, said the administration should be ruthless against the encroachers in larger public interest. “It is the right time to take steps in this regard as once the RMC election will be over, its representatives would unduly interfere in the process for vote bank politics,” he said.
Another problem before the administration is that majority of commercial buildings along the main road do not have own parking lots. The ADM said they are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate steps.