Go left ? Go right ? Take your own safe pick in Sitabuldi, Nagpur

Nagpur : When completed, the Sitabuldi Interchange Station of ‘Mazi Metro’ at Munje Square, will turn into an imposing structure. It has already changed the look of the square, difficult to recognise even for the residents of the area. Under the giant structure stand all indicators of a messy traffic future for Nagpurians. Pillars in the middle, station building close to existing structures, and potential bottlenecks, all await citizens at the Sitabuldi stretch. One wonders if ‘Mazi Metro’ is ‘Mazi’ only for authorities and not people. Unlike Dhantoli intersection, vehicles do have space to move at Munje square but it will require stringent management to ensure a mishap-less traffic under the Station.

This station premises is at the intersection of four roads — from Yashwant Stadium, from Rani Jhansi square, from Janki theater and from Variety square. Unorganised placing of Metro pillars have robbed the place of the distinction of being a square. As a result, vehicles move according to users’ whims and fancies forcing traffic to go haywire.

A pillar stands in front of the Bank of Maharashtra. It will act as a natural divider but the narrow road width halts traffic coming from Yashwant Stadium. It is a daily chaos at the spot as the footpath adjoining the bank’s entrance leaves very little space for vehicles to move. Add to that the vehicles parked by bank customers and it becomes almost a single lane. Two pillars erected at the spot are so close that traffic going towards Yashwant Stadium from Metro station will have to go at snail’s pace if it becomes too crowded. Given the traffic culture in Nagpur, vehicles coming from Yashwant Stadium and willing to go towards Janki theatre will definitely occupy road on the other side of the pillar. On the right is the entry/exit of the interchange station. It can be a future snarl spot as Metro commuters descend directly on the road which already has autorickshaws waiting for customers. The road coming from Jhansi Rani square has also been occupied by the autorickshaws and two wheelers. On the same road, a peculiar problem may arise due to a huge gap between two pillars.

It creates a bizarre large space where vehicles moving towards station and those coming from the interchange suddenly converge. Metro has yet not started its full run. When it does, the interchange will be the most crowded place as commuters travelling on both Metro stretches will embark or deboard. In future the crowd is sure to rise. That will be the most challenging part for traffic management at Munje square. It is bound to witness congestion due to crowd of commuters, autorickshaws/taxis parked near the station, and ongoing traffic. Construction is still on for the station but the Government decided to start the Sitabuldi-Khapri stretch due to its political compulsions. The Stations building juxtaposes the upcoming Glocal Mall, giving a look of a giant concrete structure. It has, in fact, blocked one side of the Mall permanently. Parking will also be a major headache in the future. Metro authorities have borrowed parking place of Glocal mall on temporary basis.

They will have to find an alternative arrangement before Metro begins its full operations. One good thing about the giant station, that has given the road below a look of a tunnel, is the shade it provides. However, it also can be double-edged sword during rainy season when two-wheeler users take shelter under such structures. It also can affect traffic. Moving ahead on the Abhyankar Road towards Variety Square, a bigger test awaits vehicle users. A pillar of Metro bridge stands in front of Sitabuldi Police Station, almost touching the Shahid Gowari flyover. It is dividing traffic into two. People coming from any road have to pass this pillar and it depends upon the prudence of the driver to choose the way around. Especially for traffic coming from Abhyankar Road moving towards Morris College t-point, the pillar makes a sudden appearance living drivers in a dilemma.

Those who played 8-bit or 16-bit video gaming consoles in the 90s can relate to the problem. The bike games had such tricky situations where an obstacle would come suddenly on the road, and the players had to take a pick on which side to move. The dilemma is played in real life in front of Sitabuldi police station. The problem does not end there. One group of vehicles moves from near the Police Station while the other from near the pillars of Gowari fly-over.

Their meeting point, just a few steps ahead, has become an accident-prone spot. The wall of fly-over approach road towards the t-point projects on the road below reducing the road width. Vehicles moving adjacent to the fly-over have to change their track with one eye on the wall and another on the vehicles coming from left side. It is a scary experience for the commuters. Parked autorickshaws next to the Police Station contribute in the confusion and chaos. Everyday the passers-by are witness to vehicles nudging close to each other, avoiding contact. It will be a traffic routine for the future in Variety square, for, the strangely-designed pillar will force a change in thinking of vehicle users too. After all, their safety is in their hands only.

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