Puri: At a time when the state government has launched several mega projects to transform Puri into a heritage city, encroachment and illegal parking on Badadanda (Grand Road) have become a source of headache for the locals and visitors.
Vending stalls and illegal parking of bikes and other vehicles on the Grand Road have been causing traffic snarls, sources said.
Thousands of devotees and tourists from across the globe usually visit the Holy City to pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath and spend some quality time on the beach. Most of the pilgrims depend upon the Grand Road to reach the 12th century shrine. Besides, the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are pulled on the 2.8 km-long and 180 ft-wide road to reach Srigundicha temple during the annual Rath Yatra.
Over the years, many shops, shopping malls and hotels have come up on both sides of Badadanda. Most of these commercial entities do not have their own parking lots. As a result, people often park their vehicles on the Grand Road, causing traffic snarls, sources said.
Many vendors have opened their stalls on the stretch from Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) office to Market Square. Moreover, many green-grocers also go about their daily business near Badasankha. “Earlier, many street vendors were doing business on the Grand Road near Srimandir. The administration has recently prohibited vending near the shrine to create a heritage corridor. Now, the vendors have opened their stalls on both sides of the road starting from the SJTA office to Market Square,” said a local.
Sachetan Nagarik Mancha president Prasanna Dash, meanwhile, urged the district administration and the Puri Municipality to take stern action against the shopping malls that do not have parking lots. “Illegal parking and street vendors have occupied a sizeable portion of the Grand Road. Pilgrims and tourists are facing a lot of inconveniences due to traffic snarls,” Dash claimed.
Puri-Konark Development Authority (PKDA) Lalatendu Sahu said they have served notices on shopping malls having no parking lot of their own. “The inflow of tourists and devotees to Puri has gone up in recent years. We have to upgrade our infrastructure to manage the situation,” he added.