KERALA

Ensure pedestrians have a safe passage



The ordeal of a woman who had to be rescued by firemen after her leg was caught in a broken slab at Thampanoor in Thiruvananthapuram has exposed the plight of pedestrians on our roads. Despite public outcry, there has been little effort to improve pedestrian facilities, especially footpaths, subways and overbridges, and to enforce traffic rules. How do we solve the problem? Our readers respond:



Plight of pedestrians

The one-hour harrowing ordeal of a woman after her leg was caught in a broken slab in Thiruvananthapuram stands testimony to the terrible plight of pedestrians in the State.

The poor condition of Indian roads is a major problem raising many concerns. Many people are disfigured and maimed and often precious life is lost due to accidents. Despite many such accidents there has been very little effort to improve the facilities for pedestrians.

The Government, instead of standing a mute witness to this increasing number of accidents, can introduce stringent punishments for traffic offenders. Segregation of pedestrian and vehicle lanes should be considered. Lane traffic should also be introduced. A concerted effort to improve footpaths, subways, overbridges and zebra crossings, a regular survey of roads and follow-up activities can be taken up.

Parvathy G.

Muthukulam South

Distracting gadget

The mobile phone is the villain nowadays in such accidents. I don’t know whether that lady was using her mobile phone while walking and fell into the broken slabs. Talking on the mobile phone and walking or riding vehicles is a fashion in the State. They are not at all bothered about pedestrians, vehicular traffic, narrow pathways, unrepaired footpaths, on their way. The government has to ban the use of cell phones while people walk and cross the roads.

Sreelakshmi Sankar

Kochi

Unfriendly roads

The degraded facilities, non-enforcement of regulations and uncivilized actions of vehicle drivers, make our roads unfriendly. The ill-maintained roads and heavy, unmanageable traffic do not match each other and result in hazards, accidents and deaths. The high profile law breakers, including over-speeding ministers, dilute our law enforcement mechanism and incapacitate the enforcers gradually. All these make our roads accident-prone areas, killing fields or lawless zones.

The best solution is to decentralize administrative powers closer to people so as to allow more involvement of them. Setting up of vigilant groups of people will also help improve the situation. Encouraging the political executive to formulate better policies and vitalizing the bureaucracy, can alter the situation much.

K. Rajasekharan

Mulagunnathukavu

Criminal negligence

The ordeal of a woman whose leg was trapped in a broken slab over a drain the Thampanoor in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram is yet another instance of the plight of the citizens who are the victims of the criminal negligence of the local authorities. This callous indifference to the rights of the pedestrians is seen in every town and city in Kerala. Protests of unorganized citizens so far have failed to make the authorities act. It is necessary, therefore, for the citizens to organize and sue the municipality/corporation to compensate the victim as is done in other countries.

Jacob George

Changanacherry

At the receiving end

Pedestrians on our roads are always at the receiving end. Vehicles and vendors have literally marginalized them on the roads.

Measures to ameliorate the miseries of pedestrians by providing more facilities remain mere promises in the form of statements and declarations. The concrete slabs that cover the drainages in the city are substandard even to the eyes of the layman. It is no wonder that they turn veritable death traps after a few days of paving. A casual stroll along the pavements at Thampanoor, especially at the KSRTC bus stand, abundantly unveils this reality.

The ordeal of the woman, who suffered hours of agony at Thampanoor, lays bare the lack of expertise and professionalism of the firemen in rescuing people caught in accidents. Impeccable training in rescue operation and acquisition of sophisticated gadgets for the fire brigade are imperative.

N. Sadasivan Pillai

Camp: Modinabad

Reputed contractors

Slabs caving in is like the earth swallowing us. Public works should be awarded only to contractors known for their standing, integrity and reputation for quality of work. Cost alone should not be the criterion. Their work should be closely supervised by the authorities concerned. Erring contractors should be given deterrent punishment, including payment of compensation for damages. Everyone should be held responsible for the damage right from the contractor up to the Minister concerned.

P. V. Divakaran

Avittathur

Eye-opener

The incident cannot be dismissed as an isolated one. It exposes the height of callousness displayed by our civic authorities in maintaining public roads and walkways. The absence of accountability also leads to occurrence/recurrence of such incidence.

The corporation has to fix accountability in the case and take necessary steps to realise such amount as is paid as compensation to the victim from whoever is responsible for the incident. Only such deterrent punishments will make our officialdom shed its lethargy and callousness. This incident should serve as an eye-opener for all civic authorities to ensure that slabs on the walkways are properly maintained and gaps filled.

N. K. Vijayan

Kizhakkambalam

Who is responsible?

Who all are to be held responsible for ensuring the safety of the pedestrians?

The public should take steps to make the officials swing into action. Pavement dwellers and hawkers should be shifted to a safer zone, unauthorised buildings on the roadsides should be removed, breadth of roads should be enhanced and parking lots established. In order to avoid accidents and rash driving, a systematic masterplan should be designed and implemented by the government.

Vani Rajan

Devikulam

Kathrikadavu bridge

I am an unfortunate pedestrian of Ernakulam near Kathrikadavu overbridge. The footpath of the overbridge has been in a very precarious condition for the past two years. The tiles on the overbridge are loose from the time it was laid. Adding to that, for a long time the metal for the road repair was emptied on the footpath in big heaps. During early hours of the day, a number of cows lie on the footpath and fill the stretch with cowdung. In the rainy season many time I slipped stepping on this surface during my morning walk. Complaints to the corporation authorities and to the ward members only brought lame excuses. The authorities charge exorbitant fine for all the taxes, but are not bothered to rectify the faults. All the authorities concerned should be sued for such lack of civic amenities.

Rosamma

By e-mail

Gross negligence

The kind of negligence on the part of the City Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram has been highlighted in the incident of a lady getting her foot trapped in a opening of the gutter slab. Criminal proceedings have to be initiated against the person responsible for such lapses. In fact, Thiruvananthapuram is not the only place where such accidents occur. Such wide openings in between slabs, including complete absence of a slab itself, are a common sight in most of the towns and cities.

The remedy, obviously, falls on the shoulders of the civic bodies. Upkeep and maintenance of roads and footpaths including gutters and slabs must be a top priority item for them.

O. B. Nair

Poonithura

Both at fault

Both the public and the government are responsible for the accidents happening on the broken slabs, roadside canals, pedestrian pathways, footpaths. It is the duty of the government to provide good roads, good walkways/footpaths to the public. At the same time, the public has to abide by the laws of the land and take precautions to prevent accidents. If the woman, who met with an accident at Thampanoor was alert when walking on the roads, this would not have happened. Accidents happen when our attention is diverted.

The courts have the power to take up `suo motu’ action on the incidents. Take stringent action against those who are not doing their duty.

P. Sankaranarayanan

Poonithura

Stop encroachments

Encroachment of government land is the main reason for lack of pathways. At the time of the Munnar evictions, in Ernakulam district, at MG Road and many other places, the authorities marked encroached areas and some constructions were demolished. New pathways and footpaths were constructed and sufficient pathways were provided that time. But after some time, the same encroachers returned and constructed their own business centres. The government properties are used by private persons and the public is forced to use the roads for walkways and footpaths.

T. S. N. Panicker

West Kadavanthra

Repair roads

Incidents like the one at Thampanoor can happen anywhere. Last year, one person went to court for compensation from the Kochi Corporation for such an incident.

The State government, PWD, corporations, municipalities and panchayats are fully responsible for the maintenance of the public roads and bridges, as also the canals and government buildings. They are elected and appointed to the posts, for looking after the government properties for and on behalf of the government, and for the service of the public. If they are not doing that, it is the duty of the public, as also the press, to take up the matter.

Palakkadan S. Narayan

Ambalamugal

Recommended for you