Elderly Woman Suffers Grievous Injuries after Slipping into a Footpath Open-Pit, Opp Kankanady Market

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Elderly Woman Suffers Grievous Injuries after Slipping into a Footpath Open-Pit, Opp Kankanady Market

Mangaluru: If someone asks how SAFE are our City’s FOOTPATHS- the quick answer will be NOT SAFE AT ALL, and with a bunch of new footpaths constructed recently either by Mangaluru Smart City Ltd (MSCL) and Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC), around 95% of them are hazardous and not safe for pedestrians to walk on. Just drive and walk around the City, you will see a bunch of Open-Pits in the middle of the newly constructed footpaths, and no warning signs are posted alerting the walkers about the open pits. And many pedestrians have accidentally fallen into these pits and got injured, and never reported/complained to the concerned authorities, or many walkers might have narrowly missed falling into these open pits.

And one thing for sure, none of the MSCL nor MCC authorities, Engineers nor the contractors care about the safety of the people, when they leave these incomplete hazardous footpaths, putting the lives of people in danger. While MSCL and MCC are always on a footpath laying spree, in a purported attempt to make our roads more accessible for pedestrians, also where one or the other arterial road gets a new footpath every year- But, it is also a reality that our footpaths, built with crores of investment, are not friendly to the end-users, with a bunch of obstacles, riddled with tree stumps, debris, construction materials etc, and especially open pits -, and other than that- encroached by parked and speeding two-wheelers, EB cables and whatnot.

FOOTPATH OPPOSITE TO KANKANADY MARKET …….

To add to the woes, the MSCL/MCC have recently started digging up relatively new, properly laid footpaths to construct a sewer line or a stormwater drain and in between the construction, the work remains incomplete for months, putting people’s lives at risk. Scenarios such as the above naturally raise the question: how does the Corporation/MSCL construct footpaths? Is there a rulebook that guides officials in footpath laying? According to me or of sensible educated experts, A good footpath should be pedestrian-friendly and enable access to everyone, including women, children, elderly and People With Disabilities (PWDs). Good footpaths constitute the primary public space of a city, where people can walk and talk, safely.

FOOTPATH IN FRONT OF SCDCC BANK ON K S RAO ROAD:

Unfortunately, none of our footpaths are pedestrian-friendly, and therefore we see people walking on safer streets than the unsafe footpaths? Late in the evening, an elderly woman along with a younger woman were walking in front of Crasta Bakery, opposite Kankanady Market in the City, and without noticing the open-pit on the footpath, she slipped into it, with her face hitting hard. Quickly Yours Truly and a couple of auto-rickshaw drivers swung into action and pulled her out, and she was quickly rushed to the hospital by an auto-rickshaw driver. Since I was busy helping out, I couldn’t get more details, and also information as to which hospital the woman was taken to. She had serious injuries on her face and bruises on her hands, luckily she survived.

FOOTPATH ON FALNIR ROAD:

Thanks to the shabby and incomplete work of the contractor and labourers in leaving open-pits, and putting peoples’ lives at risk. The entire stretch of the footpath in Kankanady is shabby and unscientific, and anyone can get injured walking in that, especially after dark. No doubt that most of the footpaths have Gone Death Traps, and many feel that it’s Safer to Walk on Streets than on City’s Footpaths. Just look at the photos incorporated in this article, you will find out how unsafe it is to use the City’s footpaths, some of which were recently constructed, and some already existed for years. If you look around the City, how many pedestrians are seen walking on the footpath- they don’t, because they feel that walking on the streets with caution is much safer than using the city footpaths.

Apart from open pits right in the middle of the footpaths, loosened footpath concrete slabs etc – apart from these safety hazards, the condition of the footpaths is so poor, that most of the places the street vendors have encroached, people constructing houses use the footpaths for dumping all the construction material. People use footpaths to park their vehicles also. City’s footpaths are for daring people who can manoeuvre the open drains, sandpits, big potholes, other obstacles and parked vehicles. Another major problem facing the commuters/pedestrians is that, when the roads are dug for concretization the city’s footpaths take a severe beating. Some footpaths in the city’s main thoroughfares have vanished, pushing the pedestrians into direct confrontation with the city’s killer public transport system. This education hub is now like a middle-aged bachelor, with the government and MCC trying to dress him up with all sorts of cosmetics while the vital aspects are being sidelined. With half the city being dug up for one or the other reason the traffic appears to be going haywire while the pedestrians are scampering for safety.

FOOTPATH NEAR OLD-SERVICE BUS STAND ON K S RAO ROAD:

Mangaluru has a dubious reputation for being the most unsafe city for pedestrians. Nobody has investigated this so there is no official document available for gauging the level of discomfort for the pedestrian but the way the city is dug up at present it is evident to the naked eye the violation of safety of pedestrians. School children, young and old folks, ladies and gentlemen are the most susceptible. They come onto the road to escape the open spaces on the footpaths endangering their safety. It is carnage out there.

What is the condition of the footpath that you trudge on? Just look at some of the perils of walking on Mangaluru’s footpaths. A description of a footpath says- A path for pedestrians in a built-up area; a pavement. A path for people to walk along. But if Mangaluru’s footpaths could talk, they’d have many tales to tell. While some could claim that they have sent people to the hospital with injuries, others would state that they have claimed lives! Even today, when there is so much conversation about road safety, and despite pedestrians being at the forefront of this conversation, many roads do not have footpaths. Or even if they are present, they are not usable, either because of defects in the structure. So why even bother to build footpaths which are not safe and pedestrian-friendly? Why unnecessarily spend taxpayers money on something that is not usable?

But here in this report, you will notice through the pictures how dangerous it is for pedestrians to walk on City’s footpaths. Look at it, it is so dangerous, if someone falls accidentally they will be injured or die. Why is our MCC so negligent when it comes to the safety of citizens? Where is all our tax money going-we need safe footpaths and safe roads”. Is anyone in the MCC department listening or just listening and ignoring it, and then taking action when someone gets injured or there is a fatality?

Mangaluru can lead the way in attaining this developing nation’s very critical goal – to set our vehicles and pedestrians on the right path. We are at crossroads. Now we just have to give our walkers the safety right of way. All I could say is that the pedestrians will reach home safely only, if they are alert and extra cautious. Equally unsafe are people walking on the footpath, as at every 100 mts, one can come across uncovered drains, uneven or broken concrete slabs. A slight distraction can cause a youngster or a senior citizen off balance and get himself injured. As to the damaged footpath, why the so-called concrete slabs don’t last long. The answer is simple, the poor quality of the material. Who do we blame? And regarding all these unsafe footpaths in the so-called ‘SMART CITY’, the smart people at the helm of developmental projects or MCC officials need to take action quickly before someone gets hurt. Until then walk safe with caution?

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