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Puja committees encroach on roads

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Sept 25 - Along with the enthusiasm and fanfare, Durga Puja is poised to come with some inconvenience for commuters in the city � thanks to the puja committees which have encroached on portions of the road and a callous administration which has chosen to overlook it.

The norms for obtaining NoC are being openly flouted by a number of puja committees, with little concern for the inconvenience that their action is going to cause to commuters.

A number of puja committees have erected their festooned gates and other decorations like LED boards, usurping portions of the roads, further squeezing the narrow paths of the city. In most cases, almost the entire footpath has been blocked. One puja committee has blocked the exit of a bye-lane at Rajgarh.

Deputy Commissioner M Angamuthu said the administration has not given permission to anyone to encroach on the roads and block them. �If any committee has done it, it has done it unauthorisedly. We will check and do the needful,� he said.

DCP (Traffic) Amanjeet Kaur admitted that some pandals, mostly those located along the roads, have erected their gates usurping a bit of the pathways. �We are trying to tell them to avoid it. Generally most of them are abiding. Though the areas in and around the celebrations are bound to witness congestion due to the crowd gathering, we will put personnel in those areas to ensure that the inconvenience is minimum,� she said.

Many commuters feel that as the city roads are already very narrow and congestion a regular phenomenon, the administration should not allow such structures to be erected in this manner.

The Public Works Department, too, is not happy at the erection of hoardings, banners and other structures on the roads, which often tend to damage the roads. �If anyone wants to put up something on the roads, they should seek permission from us. But rarely does anyone obtain it,� a senior PWD official said.

The NoC to put up structures on roads is given on some conditions � like the structure should not obstruct traffic, it should not damage the road and it should be removed by the same party that erected it, after the programme is over.

Sources said that on a number of instances, the organisations which had put up hoardings and gates, damaged the roads. �As the hole widens gradually, we have to face the wrath of the public,� the official added.

Meanwhile, the City Traffic Police has imposed a number of restrictions on the city roads during the puja days.

Goods-carrying vehicles will not be allowed to enter the city from 1 pm to 4 am from Jalukbari, Garchuk, Lokhara, Beltola, Hatigaon and the Chandmari side.

The Dr RP Road will be one-way only from the Ganesh Mandir side. There will be no entry for vehicles coming from the Zoo Road side to Ganesh Mandir. There will be no entry on AK Azad Road from the Nepali Mandir side towards Sarabbhati, on MS Road from the Shani Mandir side, on Dr JC Das Road from the Khubchand point, from Maligaon Chariali to Pandu, on PNGB Road between Maligaon Chariali and the Kamakhya Railway Station level crossing, towards RK Choudhury Road and SC Road from Kumarpara Pachali, Fatasil Ambari.

There will also be no entry on Beltola-Joyanagar Road from Joyanagar Chariali to Beltola Chariali. Bhetapara Chariali-Beltola Chariali Road will be one-way from the Beltola Chariali side. No vehicles will be allowed to enter from the Anuradha Point to Hatigarh Chariali. Several bus routes have been altered accordingly.

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