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It was a decade or so back when the life around Patna Junction near Mahavir Mandir was cool and calm. There were fever traffic to cater and at that time, and me was just evolving into a modern city. There was an obsolete jail, called Bankipore jail in-front of the Mahavir mandir. It occupied a lot of space, around 22 acres and there were lot of trees inside it. It looked deserted. At the beginning of this decade, I saw that the jail compound was being pulled down. I was curious to know if the structure was pulled down to make extra space for the parking and the traffic chaos that has started prevailing by that time. But somehow I came to know that there was a proposal to build a park on Lord Buddha here, to be called as Buddha Smriti Park. The park was being built to commemorate the 2554th birthday of Lord Buddha at a cost of more than Rs. 100 crore.
Wow !!! Great initiative, I thought. And why not, I have been the working ground of Buddha who used to come here often more than 2500 years back. But I was puzzled. How could such a big plan be executed in the centre of the city which is cramping for space. After all, difficulties will be faced by my people only, and not for the travelers who come once or twice in a year to witness the land of Buddha. There were lot of spaces available on Bailey road near Danapur. I thought that if this park had to come up, then any old government building at Bailey road can be pulled down to pave for the construction of park. That would had been great from all perspective.
Alas, everything I thought went in vain. Even the citizen were happy to see the construction of Buddha park in the city. They thought that this would be great attraction in the city. Of-course, 10 years down, it is a tourist puller. But who will be the ultimate sufferer? Indeed, citizens themselves. The junction near Mahavir mandir is situated at the cross section of four road. All the four roads are equally traffic congested. Adding to the woes are the hawkers and footpath sellers who encroaches almost half the road. There are vehicles coming from all side. The junction marks an important turnaround for going to Kankarbagh, Station, R Block and Dak Bunglow chowk. If you include the traffic coming from the station, then the condition becomes horrible. City buses, autos, rickshaw, private vehicles, hawkers and people make this place a chaos. There is non stop chaos prevailing 24 X 7 throughout the year. Come to any festival and the whole area will become inundated with the worshipers of Mahavir Mandir. Everyone seems to guess after why the space is horribly congested. (The Chaos outside Patna Junction)
Who is to blame for this chaos? There is no doubt that it has to be the government agencies involved in the project clearance. They cannot blame themselves off from this situation. It was, after-all a political initiative. Infact, it is the decision of all the parties that this structure came up. And people are the biggest loser. There were many things that could have been done at exact the same place of 22 acres of prime land where Buddha Smriti park is situated. Based on Bangalore model, we could had the city bus stand, travelers and public houses and auto stand built sprawling in that area which could had reduced much traffic and would had eased the congestion. A dedicated underpass or foot overbridge could have easily connected to the various areas around the station. Few flyovers could have averted the huge traffic jams.
Alas, nothing is possible now. The situation is going to be frightening in the coming days. With more number of vehicles adding each year and the growing importance of Patna junction and Mahavir Mandir would make this place fearful in the coming years. Haphazard traffics held a lot of risks to the lives. I have seen how family from smaller places find it difficult to cross the road. Buddha Smriti Park, which is so beautiful will be star attraction but at the horrific cost of the citizen woes around it. It will be place where fewer people will be seen, but a huge crowd will be haphazardly moving beyond its compound. This is a grave mistake by the government and the municipal corporation. I wish the park could have come across at any other part of the city, leaving the area to be developed for the Citizen facility and traffic congestion control systems.