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Tyre vendors take over cycle tracks built by Jusco

Vehicle mechanics and unauthorised tyre sellers have set up shop on the twin 1.5km-long cycle tracks yet to be open for public

By Kumud Jenamani in Jamshedpur

  • Published 27.10.18, 12:09 AM
  • Updated 27.10.18, 12:09 AM
Tyre shops encroach on an upcoming cycle track in Jugsalai, Jamshedpur, on Friday.
Tyre shops encroach on an upcoming cycle track in Jugsalai, Jamshedpur, on Friday. (Animesh Sengupta)

Tata Steel’s civic utility wing Jusco is on the verge of completing its twin 1.5km-long cycle tracks along Jugsalai-Bistupur main road.

But, the ambitious project — arguably the first of its kind in the state that is expected to ease traffic congestion and minimise the risk of fatal accidents for cyclists — is facing an infamous challenge: that of encroachment.

According to Jugsalai businessman Awtar Singh, barring 600 metres of the cycle track on both flanks of the artery, the remaining stretch has been usurped by unauthorised tyre stalls and vehicle mechanics.

Amrita Kaur, also a local resident, added that if the authorities didn’t act immediately, the whole purpose of the project would be defeated, given that the road between Tata Pigments roundabout in Jugsalai and Tata Steel powerhouse gate was used by more than 25,000 cyclists daily.

“If protected lanes are being made for them, why must cyclists risk their life and limbs to pedal on the main carriageway. The dedicated tracks would also be safe for morning walkers and joggers to use, provide the authorities act now and evict squatters,” said Kaur, a homemaker.

Subham Yadav, a member of Steel Cyclos pedal club, said the authorities must also ensure proper vigil to prevent encroachers from returning.

Vendor Suleiman Sheikh, one among the encroachers, said he earlier traded in old tyres on railway land. “After the railways erected a boundary wall, I had to suspend a business that I had been running for four decades. Since the cycle tracks are not ready, I have set up a makeshift stall here,” he conceded.

Rajesh Rajan, spokesperson for Jusco, said encroachment of the 2.5-metre-wide protected cycling lanes should not be tolerated. “The tracks are for students and office-goers who use bicycles, besides pedal professionals. If these are being encroached upon, it is the responsibility of the local administration to free them,” he said.

Surendra Prasad Yadav, special officer of Jugsalai Municipality, said a crackdown would be launched soon.