Mangaluru: When former Mangaluru city corporation Mayor Jacintha Alfred while ending her term said that she was proud that under her tenure as MCC mayor many footpath and drainage works were completed-that was good to hear and want to compliment her for taking up the initiative in constructing new footpaths and drainage’s- but the sad part is that our former Mayor didn’t bother to check whether the footpath and drainage work was properly done to the standards and for the safety of the pedestrians. If you look at all the new footpaths that were constructed lately none of them are perfect and not safe for humans to use them.
Even though these footpaths are incomplete, I bet the contractors might have got the full payment by the MCC by not even inspecting the work before before payment. Wish we still had our former trust worthy and dedicated city commissioner Hepsiba Rani Korlapati, who always checked the work before she signed the cheque for the complete and satisfied work. But she was forced to take a transfer, so that our city officials and contractors could make lump sum of illegal income.But if you look at all these footpath and drainage work that was done lately, they are not worth to be paid a paisa to the contractor-but the sad part is that MCC runs on corruption and bribery-every road/footpath/drainage work that is undertaken, there is a cut between the contractors and MCC officials. Time to name MCC as “Mangaluru Corrupt Corporation”-Nothing Less.Nothing More. Period. I am sure every one will agree with me.
Yes, Life is idyllic, self-contained—until they try to step outside their cocoon. Simply because there’s nowhere to step. Seems like Mangaluru is not a place for walking,. In many places in the City there are no footpaths, and in some places even though new footpaths have been constructed, none of them are safe to walk to walk, with pedestrians still using the road for their daily commute. So what good is it to construct incomplete footpaths, which are hazardous and unsafe to walk. Sheer waste of tax-payers hard earned money wasted by MCC officials and contractors. And in case our MCC officials are boasting about the good work undertaken by them in constructing the drainage, then why are our city streets still flooded when it rains. Any answer for this situation from MCC?
Like many cities across India, Mangalurue is seeing an unprecedented building boom, both inside the city and in farmlands converting to suburbs. There are glass buildings, new roads, gated communities—changing the way people live and work. But one thing largely remains the same—still bad footpaths. Here in Mangaluru,exasperated urban planners and experts, are being planned for cars and two-wheelers. Even new roads being built are mostly flyovers and underpasses, which tend to overlook just how pedestrians can get from here to there. Footpaths are given the least attention here. Rarely are our cities planned for the people. Roads are meant for cars and two wheelers, not for pedestrians and cyclists.
The standards laid out by the Indian Roads Congress are followed only for major roads. For other roads there are no footpaths, or if provided, they are useless even after constructed new. Our administartion is a government-run body of professional engineers that sets standards for roads, bridges and footpaths across the country. Developers say they are trying. In many of our projects we have developed footpaths outside the colonies’ gates, apart from creating good pathways and walkways inside where residents can take a stroll. But the Road remains difficult to navigate on foot with incomplete footpaths. The fault is two-pronged- pedestrians not demanding their rightful space on roads and poor engineering design and supervision.?
Footpaths should be designed as part of the road, but often to save funds, the footpaths are not built. The edges are left open which gathers dust, obstacles on them, open pits here and there etc etc-refer the pictures in this article to get a clear picture as to what I am talking about. According to the Indian Roads Congress, all roads which have pedestrian traffic are supposed to have a footpath with a minimum width of 1.5m. But we hardly see it here in Kudla. Our new footpaths are not constructed properly leaving gaps between slabs. Also our existing footpaths are being used for car and bike parking. Parking on the footpath is a violation of traffic rules. But as you can see it is happening all over the city even though we frequently fine people for it. Charging Rs 100 for violation is cheap- and violators are ready to pay that cheap fine. Increase the violation fine, then probably we can see the difference.
Apart from incomplete footpaths, Cars parking on the footpaths and on high-traffic roads has also become a menace. Even though some of the new footpaths in certain parts of the city are broad and tree-lined, they are not well maintained. Fifty four-year-old Daisy fell and broke her teeth earlier this month when the pavement near Bendore Church suddenly caved in while she was on a morning walk. Also moist of the footpaths are encroached upon by hawkers. Sadly you won’t see any improvement in the conditions of our footpaths even after spending lakhs of money.
Ongoing new construction spell doom for the pedestrians. Construction sites dump material such as gravel, large stones, sand and metal on the footpath, thereby giving the pedestrian little choice but to walk on the road. Take a walk down the Kadri Kambla-Bejai road, it is so difficult to walk. There is construction material piled up on the footpath making it very dangerous to walk by. Builders are supposed to seek permission, but very often they do so without notifying MCC. Why would they when bribe plays an important role between some builders and MCC officials.
It is sad to note that Major roads have not been cared to make pedestrian-friendly footpaths on the roadside. The prime importance on roads is for pedestrians but sadly in our culture, that is missing. The gradient of footpaths should facilitate easy and comfortable walking for the elderly and handicapped, but sadly our footpaths are broken at several points and never help the pedestrians, and many pedestrians are getting hurt due to dilapidated foot path.This shows that that the PWD/MCC has shown utter callousness in constructing a perfect footpath.
In many of the footpaths that have been constructed lately, the workers have left a unfinished job. Large pits in the footpath have been left behind posing danger to pedestrians and motorists. There have been already few minor incidents where people and motorists have slipped and fallen into this open pits in the incomplete footpaths. All the new footpaths that have been constructed have made the contractor and some of the city officials rich, other than that these city development projects (footpaths|) are simply a waste of tax payers money.
And we should remember. Mangaluru is still trying to be India’s Smart City, full of smart people, but has already flunked twice in getting approved as one of nation’s “Smart City”. But how can we become a smart city, when we have roads/footpaths/drainage in shambles? The sheer decline of the city is a result of really bad policy and complete ignorance and nonchalance. A terrible case of how to ruin tax payers money.Period!
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