The price of commercial success: Bapuji Nagar
Jul 28, 2012
Source : The Times of India


BHUBANESWAR: Once touted as one of the best-planned localities in Bhubaneswar, Bapuji Nagar has turned into a chaotic bazaar with choc-a-bloc traffic, overflowing sewers and cesspool like backyards.
Conceived as a residential area when German architect Otto H Knigsberger planned the modern Odisha capital of Bhubaneswar, Bapuji Nagar slowly became one of the main commercial hubs of the city due to its proximity to the Biju Patnaik airport (2 km away) and the railway station (less than 2 km away).
The residents of the area were quick to encash on the opportunity by turning Bapuji Nagar into one of the most sought after destination for electronic goods, furniture and household items. However, the short-sighted decision of its denizens brought an array of civic woes besides making the area traffic-unfriendly and accident-prone.
"The market attracts a huge crowd but there is no parking space. So people park right on the roads, creating problems for others. It is high time the government creates multi-level parking in the area. Otherwise, people will start avoiding the market because of the chaos and the traders will lose out," said Biswajit Mitra, a special police officer (SPO) of the locality.
The traffic chaos in Bapuji Nagar's has also increased by the ongoing construction work at the Rajmahal Square flyover long past its 2011 deadline. Sources said it will take around two to three months more. Many commuters coming from Kalpana Square enter the service lane because of the flyover work, worsening the traffic flow. "There should be better traffic management," he said.
The sewer lines, built in the 1960s have become too old and outdated to take the current load. As a result, overflowing sewer is a common sight in some areas of Bapuji Nagar, Mitra added. The Bapuji Nagar market attracts a daily footfall of over 5,000 people. However, the area doesn't have community toilets. As a result, shoppers visiting the locality face inconvenience. "In the absence of toilets, people urinating in the open are very common here, making the area stink. Steps should be taken to build a community toilet here," said A K Jena, a businessman of the area.
Cleanliness has gone for a toss in the area. The locality houses around 40 hotels, lodges and restaurants. Large amount of waste generated by the establishments is conveniently dumped in the conservancy lanes, which are meant to remain open spaces behind the houses for emergencies. "Conservancy lanes have become like cesspits. People should stop using these as dumping yards while the civic authorities should ensure that these are cleaned regularly," said Pyari Mohan Senapati, cultural secretary of Bapuji Nagar Nagarik Committee, a citizens' forum. The by-lanes are full of potholes, making it dangerous to commute. "None of the 11 by-lanes have been repaired in past 15 years," Senapati said.
City planners said the area has all the ingredients to remain city's prominent commercial hub in years to come, but it may lose out unless the amenities improve. "In the changed circumstances, people are preferring malls to individual cluttered shops. To remain in the competition, steps should be taken for better crowd management and refurbishing of the market space in Bapuji Nagar," said Piyush Rout, an urban management consultant.
Prominent among others, state finance minister Prafulla Ghadei and Assam governor J B Patnaik own properties in Bapuji Nagar.

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