Kendrapara, June 8 (LocalWire): Ever since the state government has re-opened the national highway number 5A for transportation of iron ore from Keonjhar to the port-city Paradip, people’s life in Kendrapara district has become chaotic and miserable.
While massive traffic jams greet commuters daily on the highway, the roads in and around Marasaghai and Bhutamundei too have been witnessing massive gridlock.
The pile-up of iron-ore-laden trucks between the 55-km stretch from Duhuria in Kendrapara district to Paradip in Jagatsinghpur is also creating the longest traffic jam in the state, converting the highway into a virtual parking lot for the truckers and bringing the movement of local vehicles to a grinding halt.
It also raises doubts about the capacity planning of the national highway and its ability to handle the increasing volume of trucks that are getting added every year to ferry iron-ore from the state.
The congestion on the national highway is also adversely affecting the income of truck drivers who are getting trapped on the highway for day’s end.
“The highway has experienced at least ten major traffic buildup during the last fortnight,” informs the 43-year old Giridhari Behera, a truck driver waiting at Gop Chhack on the national highway 5A.
“People of Kendrapara have been facing problems due to the heavy movement of trucks carrying iron ore which are damaging the roads and creating a traffic jam,” said Kendrapara Citizen Forum president Biswanath Behera.
According to rough estimates, around three thousand trucks use the highway every day to ferry iron-ore.
The heavy movement of traffic has also damaged the road; the 30-km stretch between Pancupandav and Marsaghai has developed cracks and has innumerable potholes.
“It is unfortunate that the authorities are not bothered with the upkeep and maintenance of the main road which serves as the lifeline for thousands of people and vehicles that pass through it every day,” added Behera.
The problem has been further aggravated due to the humps that have been built illegally by the locals at many places on the national highway, notably at Chagharia, Gopa Chhack, Silipur, Jadupur, Haladiagada, and Panchpandaba.
The humps not only cause the vehicles to slow down and lead to congestion on the highway but have also led to several road accidents.
According to the Kendrapara road transport officer Nikhil Patnaik, while the authority has directed the truck drivers to keep on the left side of the highway, it has also set up two police outposts on the highway to check the movements trucks.
“We are also taking actions against truckers violating the traffic rules,” he said assuring that the situation will soon be brought to normal.