Mangalore City Warning Signs of Safety Or …….Death ??

When is the last time that any one of you has ever seen a legitimate or a proper warning sign, either pertaining to a road construction, drainage repairs, road bumps, school zone, accident zone etc; etc; in Mangalore? City. I bet you haven’t seen any of those, other than those warning signs which come in the form of stones or rocks laid around a repair area; or some tree limb/ green grass set near the construction spots; or repair zone barricaded with empty drums. Seems like when it comes to safety in Mangalore, no one seems to care. The callous approach of the City Corporation regarding drainage repairs/ road repairs has resulted in many accidents. Poor road conditions and no warning road repair sites have been hazardous to commuters lately in the City. Poorly planned repairs of roads or drainage systems and a harm-fist ed approach to ongoing civic works are not only choking vehicular movement, but also causing inconveniences to City commuters.

Mangalore City Corporation should promote adequate warning signs and proper maintenance regarding road or drainage repairs. Instead of taking care of some serious problems like road hazards, damaged footpaths, blocked or overflowing drains etc; etc; the City Corporation is at the helm of beautifying City parks and erecting fancy light poles, while the City Officials are also on a busy spree raiding mobile shops, slaughter houses, massage parlours, juice cum snack shops, and other businesses who are operating without trade licenses–and not to forget, even raids on restaurant kitchens looking for hygiene conditions, just to find cooks shirtless and in sweating conditions; and even rotten bananas stored on the kitchen shelf. ‘ TajMahal Bale Hannu Podi ‘– Yucky but yummy!!

Seems like the Mangalore City Corporation is immune to place hazard signs. Without any proper signs posted, commuters have no warning of the upcoming hazard.Road hazards are a common cause of vehicle accidents, especially two-wheelers. Things that have little effect on a car, like debris left at a repair site, uneven road surfaces, unattended rough objects scattered here & there etc; can cause a bike or scooter accident. Rough and bumpy roads, either from disrepair, construction work, or resurfacing efforts can cause accidents. Although driving is dangerous in the City, apart from that road hazards present particular obstacles and dangers to two-wheelers and four-wheelers.? The reason that I decided to write this article is because of a incident, which could have been fatal if not for my quick thinking, while I was riding my scooter.

Few days back while I was riding my brand new Suzuki Swish scooter on Shiva Bagh Road , and it was dark since there were no proper street lights–I was about to crash into a drainage repair zone. There was no proper warning signs about the repair area, but because of? my quick alertness a major accident was avoided. Drivers on this road who are not made aware of this drainage repair may crash into it or may cause an accident by swerving to avoid barricades or tree limbs placed around the ” Death Zone” aka ” MCC Construction Zone”. Following photographs taken at various places in the City like Kadri Road, Shiv Bagh Rd, kodialbail Rd, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Kodial Guthu Rd, Kadri Kambla Rd, Morgan’s Gate Rd, Souza Lane-Kadri, will reveal some of the MCC road or drainage work zones without proper warning signs.

Now, that the annual rain spells have once again turned the fair weather City of Mangalore into a patchwork of broken and dirty locations, due to repair works. When such repair works are done, proper barricading arrangements with caution boards, lighted warning sign boards at dark time should be installed, and not warning signs in the form of tree limbs/ stones/green grass, and all other kind of debris placed around the repair site to alert commuters. Sometimes you see open drains several feet deep under construction/repair, with scores of protruding metal rods, but no warning signs–such kind of sites are many, waiting to snare more lives. If the City of Mangalore were to ask citizens to file complaints as it should, it would receive scores, if not hundreds!!

What if motorists crash into sign-less repair sites and injure severely or even die, in that case just what liability do official agencies have towards the protection of life and limb of citizens in a public place? And even though many accidents or probably deaths might have taken place due to these road hazards, has the City learnt from its terrible mistakes? What action has it taken to ensure that such homicide-by-neglect does not occur? What comes out clearly in all this is the attitude of the MCC, the traffic police, and other governmental agencies responsible for public safety. It is uniform, given the state of city infrastructure and enforcement. Courts view it as a culpable inaction. This persists in spite of deaths and disabilities caused by preventable accidents. Unfortunately, most of these cases involving the weak and the less affluent go without vigorous legal pursuit that should result in extraordinary compensation for victims and families, to be extracted from the purses of willfully indifferent, sometimes corrupt officials.

Mangaloreans should compel the government of the day, MCC and civic agencies to accept responsibility for the fundamental right of life of free movement in public places, rather than be dazzled by announcements of fancy and expensive beautification schemes of roads and footpaths. The City must set right walking spaces, erect proper warning signs near repair zones, and enable all citizens–old, young, and the infirm, to use roads, side-walks and so on safely. It doesn’t take too much money, but it needs a lot of political will and enforced accountability.

It is high time that the Mangalore City Corporation look at building a people-friendly City. Pedestrian environment, vehicular grid, urban fabric, proper safety and maintenance of road work, and landmarks are the key factors civic agencies need to focus on before designing urban spaces. Finally, all I have to add is, whenever road repair is ongoing, the City entities and contractors involved in the project should warn the public of hazards through proper warning signs–and since that it is lacking very much the concerned authorities should rectify this hazardous situation as soon as possible, before severe accidents or fatalities take place. Thank You!

Author: Alfie DSouza- Illinois- USA