Bhubaneswar: The entry and exit points for vehicles at Nexus Esplanade Mall in Rasulgarh are giving nightmarish experiences to commuters and people living in the locality by causing traffic snarls.
The vehicles approaching and leaving Esplanade Mall are creating traffic snarls, thereby hampering the functioning of several business houses operating in Rasulgarh Industrial Estate. The traffic jams are also holding up other vehicles passing through the area and plying on the Cuttack-Puri road.
Due to the traffic jams during peak as well as normal hours, vehicles entering and exiting the Rasulgarh Industrial estate face inordinate delays. Situated on Cuttack-Puri road, the Esplanade Mall has different entry and exit points. Vehicles enter the mall through gates situated close to the newly-constructed Bomikhal flyover. The exit point however is located within the Industrial Estate.
Traffic is always heavy on the Cuttack-Puri road and also on the lane leading to various companies situated inside the Industrial Estate. Heavy vehicles use the road on which the mall exit point is located to reach their destinations. Now with the increase in mall-leaving vehicles, traffic jams take place with monotonous regularity and cause problems for the other offices situated in the locality.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions this year, footfall to the mall and to two big puja pandals in the locality will certainly increase. Plying of vehicles, both small and large will also spike, both on the Cuttack-Puri Road and the lane leading to the Industrial Estate. So, one cannot rule out persistent traffic snarls in the coming days.
It should also be stated here that the use of mall security guards to control the traffic, adds to the trouble. Untrained at handling heavy traffic, they only increase the plight of the people and delay vehicular movement.
Urban planner Piyush Ranjan Rout blamed the entire situation on bad planning. He said the Bomikhal flyover connected directly to Vani Vihar Square, it would have eased traffic woes. He also suggested the setting up of a traffic control kiosk and signals at an appropriate place close to the mall. He pointed out that this would prevent the mall security guards from controlling the traffic.
Moreover, a number of food vans and other stores have come up on the lane inside the Industrial estate. These have added to the chaos as the width of the lane has considerably narrowed. Such is the situation that there are many occasions when a heavy 16-wheeler truck and a four-wheeler cannot pass side by side.
The office of the Odisha Small Industries Corporation is located within the Industrial Estate. General manager Lenka Prasad informed that vehicles travelling with the company’s products face immense problems while moving in the locality.
A similar opinion was expressed by Gagan Bihar Nayak, the GM of District Industries Centre. He informed that many companies complain to them regarding the traffic problems they face on a regular basis. “We have informed the state government about this situation. Vehicles belonging to various industrial houses face delays due to the exit of various types of automobiles from the mall.
Even local residents have grown frustrated due to the continuous traffic jams. While Jagabandhu Ratha pointed out that life becomes very difficult for pedestrians during the weekends, Pramod Sahoo, a shopkeeper stated that he has lost a lot of customers, since the opening of the Esplanade Mall.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Swastik Panda said that the state government has started the process to rectify faulty road designs and the Rasulgarh-Esplanade stretch would be corrected in the first phase.
However, till then due to the faulty planning of exit and entry points, there seems to be no signs of immediate relief from the chaotic traffic snarls.