No vending zone on Bada Danda: Puri civic body to Orissa High Court

The grand road will be kept commercial vending free during Rath Yatra
Orissa High Court.
Orissa High Court. (File photo)

CUTTACK: The Puri municipality on Wednesday submitted an undertaking before the Orissa High Court stating neither vending zone would be established nor licence granted for opening of shops on Bada Danda from the Bada Sankha to Gundicha Temple stretch in the pilgrim town during the Rath Yatra.

The issue of keeping the Grand Road in Puri free from commercial vending during the chariot festival from July 7 was taken up by the Orissa HC on the day. Rajat Kumar Sahoo, a resident of the town, had raised concern by way of a PIL seeking the court’s intervention to keep the 2.5 km stretch of national highway (NH) from the Shree Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple a non-vending zone.

The petition alleged that Puri municipality issued quotations for auction and allotting licences for commercial vending along Bada Danda, while the National Highway Authority (NHAI) had issued no objection certificates (NOCs) for public utilities stalls.

Senior advocate PK Rath appearing on behalf of the petitioner contended that Puri municipality has no authority to allow vending zones and grant temporary licence for carrying out business on Bada Danda as it has been declared NH 203 by the NHAI.

Advocate P Mohanty, representing Puri municipality, admitted about the quotations issued for auction and allotment for stalls for commercial activities. However, later during the course of hearing, an undertaking was given by the civic body before the HC that no vending zone would be established and licence will not be granted for opening of shops on Bada Danda from Bada Sankha to Gundicha Temple.

Taking it on record, the division bench of Chief Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Savitri Ratho disposed of the petition saying there was no need for the court’s intervention in view of the undertaking that the municipal authorities are not going to have vending zone or grant licence for opening shops on Bada Danda which has been declared as an NH.

According to records, the NHAI declared Bada Danda as NH 203 on July 22, 2002 after the Puri Roads and Buildings Division of the state government handed over a 2.5 km stretch from Simhadwara of Shree Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple (having width varying from 39 metre to 41 metre) to NHAI, Bhubaneswar on April 17, 2002.

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