Friday, October 23, 2009

No more subways as public avoid a facility meant for their safety

No more subways as public avoid a facility meant for their safety

Pedestrian subways constructed by the BBMP have turned out to be sticking underbellies of the city. Since public is not making use of this facility, the government is planning to stop construction of such subways, Sunitha Rao R reports

Sunitha Rao R

Pan spittle sprayed on the walls greets you while going down the subway at Majestic. Inside, the smell of urine suffocates you as you thread your way through the passage half occupied by vendors.
Pedestrian subways, which were constructed by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), have turned out to be sticking underbellies of the city. The city has nine such facilities. They are located on Nrupatunga Road, Malleshwaram, KR Market, Shivaji Nagar, Gandhi Nagar (which connects Majestic and city railway station), Hebbal, and Raj Bhavan Road.
The BBMP has spent Rs40 lakh for the subway that was constructed on Nrupathunga Road recently. Among the structures, the subway most used by public is the one at Majestic. But it is poorly maintained.
"Subways are not the ways to ease pedestrians' problems," said many commuters whom this reporter met.
"Since it is not possible to use the road, we have to make use of the subway. But it is in a pathetic state. It stinks as people spit on the corners, and pass urine inside the subway. During night, this place is a hub of illegal activities with pimps leading the role. Pick pockets too have a strong presence here," said MR Suma, who uses this subway to commute to her workplace in Tumkur.
"I use this subway every day. The worst thing is that during rains, water flows from every corner and the subway turns more or less into a swimming pool," she said.
According to Shaym Choudhri, an advocate who has his office in Majestic area, the BBMP is spending money to built subways in places where it is least used by public.
"The subway on Raj Bhavan Road is almost deserted. There are no bus stops there and pedestrian movement is less. But a subway stands there for no reason. The one at Majestic needs to be improved. But nothing has been done over the years," Shyam said.
According to him, the subways will be used by public only where metal barricades placed in the middle of the road completely block them from crossing to the other side.
Another problem is that most of the subways are not open for public use. Two subways constructed near Malleshwaram Circle remain locked for the past five months as there is no maintenance. The subway on Nrupathunga Road is infested with muggers and pimps at night. One of the openings to the subway always remains closed.
For security reasons, a police officer must be ideally posted near the entrance of all subways, said Srimathi Narayan who works as a teacher in a city school.
"It is a place for men to pass comments on girls. It is nothing but an 'adda' (hub) for teasing them," said Srimathi.
R Ashok, district in-charge minister, admitted that he had received several complaints about the poorly managed subways.
"I have informed the BBMP commissioner to stop constructing subways in future. I have received many complaints about lack of maintenance in subways. Most of them were built in an unscientific way. Shortly, a review of the status of the subways will be prepared," he said.
BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena said the BBMP has not proposed any more subways.
"There are nine subways now. Perhaps we need to think of sky walks. There is also need to redesign subways. International concepts such as redesigning the subways must be thought of in cross roads," said Meena.
TN Chikkarayappa, chief engineer in-charge of major roads of BBMP, said although the subways were in bad shape, maintenance work has started


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