CUTTACK: With the city opening up for renewed economic activity after months of lockdown, traffic congestion has come back to haunt commuters.
But, the chaotic condition of the main road leading to the SCB Medical College and Hospital, posing serious problems to hundreds of patients in going to the premier healthcare institution, is more the making of gross negligence by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Commissionerate police than heavy traffic.
With both the CMC and police turning a blind eye to the menace of encroachment of the road, street vendors have once again occupied the space, causing severe traffic jam.
It becomes very difficult for commuters specially during the peak hours to travel on the road stretching from SCB MCH to Acharya Harihar Post Graduate Institute of Cancer (AHPGIC).
In 2017, the CMC had constructed a vending zone at Mangalabag adjacent to the boundary wall of SCB to free the vital road of encroachment.
The zone from the main gate of SCB to AHPGIC houses 60 shops. However, most of the vendors have occupied the road extending their shops, stands, signboards etc leaving very little space for commuters. Some vendors especially dealing with hotels and fruit shops are found to have put up their tables, chairs and benches right on the road.
Earlier, several roadside makeshift shops were set up along the both sides of the road thereby creating traffic problems in the area.
After facing severe criticism over the issue, the civic body had initiated steps for clearing the road and set up the vending zone.
"We had thought that the traffic problem would be solved after the vending zone. But the situation is getting worse day by day as both the civic body and police personnel are taking no steps to prevent encroachment," rued a local resident.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has declared a mission to develop the SCBMCH as a world class healthcare centre.
“That has no meaning if the civic authorities fail in their basic duty of ensuring smooth and timely access by the needy. Both the sides of the hospital, Ranihat and Mangalabag are in grip of encroachment,” another local said. Sources said while the post of ACP (Traffic) is lying vacant for the last two months, the city’s traffic management committee has failed to hold meetings for more than a year.
While attempts to elicit response on the issue from CMC authorities proved futile, a senior police officer, however, said steps would be taken against the unruly vendors soon.