ROURKELA: One of the oldest and largest industrial clusters in Odisha, Kalunga continues to grapple with unbearable traffic on its narrow roads with daily commuters bearing the heaviest brunt of the persistent problem.
The traffic mess is compounded by the two narrow approach roads connecting Kalunga industrial estate and adjoining Balanda gram panchayat, which are unable to give smooth passage to the huge number of heavy vehicles including multi-axle trucks and trailers.
Sources said due to the narrow roads, the busy State highway (SH)-10 or Biju Expressway at the intersection of Saw Mill Chowk and IDCO Chowk frequently witnesses massive traffic jams. Whenever any trailer or a heavy vehicle turns to take the IDCO road or Saw Mill-Kalunga road from SH-10, it leads to traffic snarls. Light vehicles are at a constant risk of meeting with accidents due to the congestions.
Former zilla parishad member Joseph Xess said Kalunga industrial estate houses numerous MSMEs and the adjacent pockets of Kalunga and Balanda panchayats are also dotted with many industries including sponge iron plants. Both IDCO and Kalunga-Saw Mill roads lead to these industries, but are narrow and serpentine.
“Adding to the woes of residents, the busy Howrah-Mumbai line of South Eastern Railway (SER) passes through Kalunga. To ease the traffic woes of villagers and daily commuters, two road over bridges (ROBs) at the level-crossings in Kalunga and the industrial estate were jointly sanctioned by SER and Odisha government. However, the projects are yet to see any physical progress. The traffic mess will be cleared if the ROBs are constructed and the narrow roads widened at the earliest,” Xess added.
Incidentally, the Rourkela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) had last year proposed setting up of a flyover connecting Vedvyas and Kalunga Saw Mill Chowk to divert heavy vehicles directly to industries avoiding traffic snarls on SH-10.
RCCI president Pravin Garg said the local authorities of Road and Building (R&B) Division of the Works department and IDCO had visited the proposed flyover site three months back and a favourable report was sent to Odisha government. The Kalunga industrial cluster needs improved and wider road communication for convenience of industries and local population, he added.
R&B executive engineer Manoj Mahanandia was not available for comment.