Utkal Builders under Scanner: Police Shuts Down Utkal Kanika Galleria Shopping Mall

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By Our Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: In view of a notice from Police, the authorities of Utkal Kanika Galleria shopping mall located at Kalpana square here shut down it on Tuesday, sources said.The Mall, which was promoted by Utkal Builders, was on September 29 this year opened. Citing lack of adequate parking space and fire safety certificate, the Commissionerate Police had earlier issued closure notice to the shopping mall a few days back.

Traffic Wing of Commissionerate Police had lodged a complaint with Badagada Police in October alleging the mall authorities had not taken any traffic mitigation measures like setting up adequate parking place, road widening, constructing a footbridge for traffic de-congestion, and others.

The police cited that the mall is located between two strategic areas – Bhubaneswar Fire Station Square and Kalpana Square and lack of adequate parking place will lead to traffic congestion and affect vehicular movement, including emergency vehicles, along the busy thoroughfare.”The mall’s officials claim that there is parking arrangement for 270 vehicles.

However, with the available space, about 200 vehicles can be parked. The mall also opened for public without obtaining the occupancy certificate. This apart, the mall has planned to set up three movie screens inside the building, which will add up to the number of the visitors,” said Twin City Commissioner of Police Sudhanshu Sarangi.

On the basis of the complaint, Badagada police station IIC launched an inquiry and submitted a report to Executive Magistrate at Additional DCP Court here. In his report, the IIC also stated that the mall does not have a fire safety certificate.

The Executive Magistrate then issued a notice to the Chief Fire Officer and sought a report from him on the matter. The Chief Fire Officer filed an affidavit stating that the mall does not have a fire safety certificate.

 “The Executive Magistrate passed an order under Section 144 CrPC to seal the mall for lack of traffic arrangements and fire safety certificate,” Sarangi added.”We are not opposed to development, but all large projects must be subjected to traffic impact assessment. Unplanned growth will choke the city,”   the Police Commissioner said. The mall was sealed by the police on November 16.

Commissionerate Police had issued a notification in 2008 stating that no vehicle can be parked on the road unless the space has been designated by the Police Commissioner as a parking zone and is indicated the same by a sign board or a mark.

On the other hand, Utkal Builders, the developers of Galleria mall, asserted that the traffic and fire service arrangements are adequate.“After the construction, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) regularised the building. We have adequate parking in two basements and the traffic circulation plan has also been approved by the BDA,” said Managing Director of Utkal Builders, Sharad Baid. Baid emphatically said the shopping complex has the required fire safety certificate and parking facility, adding that the mall will reopen soon.

When a mall comes up in a busy traffic junction, there can be some traffic issues but those should be resolved by implementing good traffic management plan, he added.“We have complied with all the fire safety norms and have an inspection report which is impeccable. The report is lying with Odisha Fire Service department from last three to four months but they are not clearing the file. As we are not getting the fire safety certificate, BDA is not issuing the occupancy certificate,” Baid said.

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