Generally, Bangalore's pedestrians have the short end of the stick. However, even by the city's abysmal standards, what they endure on Mahatma Gandhi Road on the stretch between the Oberoi Hotel and HSBC is a perilous undertaking.
Most pick their say gingerly across the uneven terrain directly underneath the construction site and through narrow passages that get easily packed during peak hours.
Though this stretch of Mahatma Gandhi Road is closed to traffic to facilitate speedy construction of the Trinity Circle Metro Station, people have to criss-cross it either to reach their workplaces or on other errands as this area houses several prominent business houses, banks and offices.
A BSNL circuit box on one side and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) safety barricade on the other creates a narrow gate-like structure leading to the problem area.
Further down looms a longer narrow passage that resembles a war trench flanked by BMRCL's safety barricades. And when it rains, the walk is misery personified with large, muddy puddles forcing pedestrians to teeter on scattered cement blocks they use as stepping stones.
A little ahead is a temporary walkway bang under the construction area. As it is directly below the structure under construction, falling debris can be a problem: if it is large, it could cause serious injury; and if small, it could get into the eyes. Anchoring blocks take up much of the path, making it easy for one to sprain or bruise and ankle or two. “What used to a be a two-minute walk now takes more than 10 minutes as I am [wary] of either tripping on something or slipping and falling,” grumbled Wilson Hauzel, and employee of Arvind Mills. Things had come to such a pass, he added, that a simple chore like going to the bank was a nightmarish experience. However, adopting a glass-is-half-full view, he said because of the Namma Metro construction work, there was no dearth of parking space.
Sudha B., a retired bank employee, is relieved that she did not have to endure this every day. “This is especially difficult for elderly people like me. I came here today to meet my daughter and I don't know how she manages every day,” she said.
James R., an HDFC employee, said he once saw someone who was injured when a metal rod fell on him from the viaduct up above. Fortunately, people rushed him to a hospital, he said.