Govind D. Belgaumkar
BANGALORE: Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M.A. Saleem told us last weekend that footpath encroachments by traders on Bhagwan Mahaveer Road (Infantry Road) had been cleared.
"You can go and check for yourself," he said, adding for good measure: "Footpaths have to be just that: footpaths."
As we approached the Central Street, we saw a goods carrier stationed on the footpath near a home interiors group's outlet. Pedestrians had no option but to get down on the road braving vehicles that whizzed by.
A little ahead, small traders had placed some of their ware on sale on the footpath, particularly at the junction where the road meets Central Street.
The worst was on the other side of Central Street. Not only had sofa set units been arranged for inspection and trial on both footpaths, but also a dealer in plastic chairs had piled up his colourful ware right in the middle of the parking lot (see photo). As we approached the bit leading to the Bowring and Lady Curzon Road, the footpath, now narrower, had been almost fully occupied by centre-tables, computer furniture, and so on.
At the junction of Bhagawan Mahaveer Road and Central Street they could see another goods vehicle parked partly on the footpath, just 10 feet away from the policeman manning the traffic.
We saw a senior citizen struggling to negotiate this section of the footpath.
He had step on to the road and dodge the heavy oncoming traffic to get past the brazenly parked vehicle.
People who use the road regularly point out that police do conduct drives to clear the footpaths once in a way, but the furniture and other things appear right back on the footpaths the moment their backs are turned.