Sunday, April 30, 2006

Foot brigade needs to chip in too

Foot brigade needs to chip in too
Responses invited from our readers to the column on disappearing footpaths continue to pour in. Here are some of the selected responses.
Deccan Herald

For pedestrians only

I am a Master's student in Transportation Engineering at the University of Calgary, Canada. I am a regular visitor to the Deccan Herald website. This is my view on footpaths. First of all the footpath is for pedestrians. It should not be a place for parking or selling fruits or extending one’s shop.

All these violations can be observed at the restaurant Papdiwala at Basavangudi, near Ramakrishna Ashram. Here the pedestrian path facing west is approximately 2.5 m wide. Of this a few feet has been encroached by the restaurant. As visitors’ parking is permitted here, you can imagine the congestion on the pavement in the evenings. Also, the footpath has been raised by a whopping three feet. I have seen many people skid and fall here.

Parking must be completely banned on pedestrian paths, encroachments must be removed and checked for recurrence and footpath vendors must be evacuated immediately. Provide good and levelled footpaths, that are even throughout and are at a maximum height of only 6-8 inches above the pavement surface.

Venkata Krishna

Involve residents

Your series on footpaths is well-timed. I would like to make some suggestions on this issue. At present the laying of footpaths is a rigmarole between the contractors, corporators and the BMP tender officers, and all of them are more interested in taking the citizen for a ride than in real work. The BMP should delegate this responsibility to the local residents welfare associations. The BMP should publicise the budget details earmarked for each ward.

They should also publicise - either through the Press or through the Bangalore One centres - the names of the enlisted contractors for each ward. The residents should be allowed to issue the contract to the contractor chosen by them. The contractors should be paid the amount only after the respective resident welfare association (RWA) certifies that the work has been done satisfactorily.

There are many advantages in this scheme. By enrolling resident welfare associations, not only will supervision of works be improved, even the red tapism will be reduced. The fund allotment to each RWA should be made on the basis of the length of footpath to be maintained in each ward.

The BMP should experiment this scheme for one year and ascertain its effectiveness.


Why tolerate?

It is heartening to see that the traffic police and the BMP are trying to improve the lot of pedestrians. Is the city's foot brigade doing anything to help, other than complaining about lack of footpath space? On some roads like DVG Road where sufficient walking space is provided, there are small concerns doing big business on footpaths.

These eateries and handcart vendors continue to make profits, while footpath users quietly climb down to the crowded road. Our readiness to tolerate discomfort for the benefit of small businessmen is amazing!



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