Sambalpur: Delay in the construction of three truck terminals to ease traffic problems on national and state highways connecting this city to various parts of the state and country, is causing innumerable problems to commuters and vehicles. Hundreds of heavy vehicles ply daily on the national and state highways as there are a number of industrial units in this town as well as on its outskirts. Illegal parking of vehicles by drivers for hours together leads to traffic snarls and also cause inconvenience to people who use the roads. To eradicate this problem, it was decided by the administration of Sambalpur district a few years back to construct three truck terminals at strategic locations. The estimate for the three projects was fixed at Rs 60 crore.
However, to date the Odisha government has not released the funds and the terminals are yet to see the light of the day. This delay has created huge resentment among the inhabitants of this city. Frequent road mishaps due to traffic snarls also add to their woes. Sources informed Tuesday that one of the truck terminals was to come up close to the Sambalpur-Rourkela Biju Expressway and 11 acres of land had been identified for the purpose.
Another, 10 acres of land was identified near Jamankira Rasibeda on National Highway 55 for the second terminal while a third was to come up on 10 acres of land at Patrapali on National Highway-53. After identifying the land, the district administration handed over the plots to the Regional Transport Office and submitted a detailed project report (DPR) for appraisal by the state government. The total budget for the three projects was earmarked at Rs 60 crore with each construction needing an investment of Rs 20 crore.
However, to date not even a single pillar has been built. The project will be implemented by the Works Department after the state government sanctions funds, RTO Ramdas Tudu said. He agreed that the present-day traffic problem is due to rampant illegal parking of vehicles. Tudu informed that the proposed truck terminals will have a host of facilities for truck drivers like garages, toilets, restrooms, restaurants, and medicine shops. He stated that on average over 4,000 heavy vehicles ply daily on the Biju Expressway.
Moreover, thousands of trucks also ply daily on NH-53 connecting Mumbai with Kolkata, and NH-55 connecting Sambalpur with Cuttack. Deben Pati, chairman of Maa Samaleswari Multi-Utility Truck Owners’ Association welcomed the decision to construct the terminals. However, he asserted that work on the project should start immediately. Pati stated that there have been a number of cases when heavy vehicles parked on the roadside have been stolen. He added that terminals will ensure the safety of the vehicles.