Pedestrians are at risk from speeding buses
In the fast-changing cityscape here, Jail Road remains the same.
One of the oldest and most used thoroughfares in the heart of urban Kozhikode, it continues to disappoint the public with its wide potholes and narrow and slushy tarmac where a drain of questionable efficiency overflows with the slightest shower.
The road is also notorious to the point of being vicious for its utter lack of pedestrian safety as limited-stop buses from the Moffussil bus stand race this stretch.
On Tuesday, residents decided to salvage their road and widen it by organising themselves under the banner of Jail Road Vikasana Samithi.
But their efforts are going to be an uphill task.
The road is situated next to the Kozhikode District Jail, and widening it would mean taking a portion of the jail yard and staff quarters. The opening of the road is a narrow gap between the two jail complexes.
“For the past 40 years, this road has been lying this way even as the city develops and other roads are being widened. A technical problem is that widening this road would mean taking the permission of the Home Department… that requires official will and drive,” Sacharia P. Hussein, the local Palayam ward councillor, said.
Sivadasan S., convenor of the samithi, talks of the residents’ long innings approaching Ministers and the city Mayor with requests to intervene on their behalf.
“There was no use. There is hardly any land acquisition required to widen the roads. All the old shop-keepers have moved out since 1985,”
“The new buildings along the road have been constructed keeping in mind the possibility of road widening,” he said.
Residents explain how, for pedestrians, walking there is a tightrope feat between the compound wall and the tarmac.
“One slip and you may be hit by a vehicle on the road, chances are it can be a speeding bus,” Mr. Sivadasan said.
During rainy season, the slush from the low-lying Pavamani Road seeps into Jail Road, making matters worse for pedestrians.
But Mr. Hussein, who is a vocal supporter of the residents’ efforts to rescue the road, said this was the first time they were presenting an organised front.
“We are going to approach the authorities under the samithi’s banner. There will be change this time,” he said.