School children took it upon themselves to make their city roads commutable.

All of us use roads to reach our school and to get back home daily. Road safety is as important and crucial as the safety of the school building itself. It is true that the onus is on the authorities to keep it motorable for the vehicles and safe for the pedestrians. But we, students also can chip in to keep it safe and secure. The initiative of a group of students from the BEM Girls Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode was a laudable step in this direction.

Meaningful Christmas

Interestingly, they selected Christmas day for their voluntary service, making their celebration of the day a creative and a meaningful one. About 40 of them took to the city roads removing heavy stones and piles of sand that had been blocking roads in the school's neighbourhood. “The students' aim was to make the road safer for pedestrians and vehicles,” said Suresh Daniel, convener of the road safety forum in the school.

They filled potholes on some of the major roads in the city. “The work assumed significance as BEM School and Mananchira Square would be the main venues of the forthcoming State School Festival. Nearly 25,000 students would be in the city for the event in the second week of January,” said Mr.K.P. Rajan, President, Parent Teacher Association.

The City Corporation also had extended its support by making available necessary equipment. Corporation Health Inspector Haridasan supervised the work.

Survey of roads

Earlier, a forum of students, teachers and parents at the school had also conducted a survey to get a clearer picture of the standard of roads in the city. The survey, conducted last December on nearly 52 roads in the city, found that most arterial roads in the city are unmotorable; junctions are unscientifically planned; traffic signs have disappeared; and zebra lines at many intersections have faded. The survey was conducted by the Road Suraksha Vedi (road safety council), at the school.

The students found that the absence of traffic islands at some of the important junctions created traffic congestion. The authorities had not installed any signboards at some places; nor had zebra lines been drawn. Accidents had increased at this spot.

As many as 260 students from the school undertook the study. The students who come to the school at Mananchira from various parts of the city and suburbs carried out the survey in specified areas, said Mr. Suresh Daniel.

The detailed report of the survey with its findings and suggestions has been submitted to the authorities including the Corporation Mayor and Public Works Minister P.J. Joseph.