March 01, 2008

Worth discussing footpaths?

Is it worth discussing issues like footpaths?
Or relaying of inner streets.
It is.
But as citizens, we simply do not care to do so.
Lakhs and lakhs of rupees of the taxpayers monies are spent on civic projects. A good fraction of it is wasted.
But as taxpayers we do not care.
Last month, the city Corporation spent a tidy sum on advertising its tenders calling for contractors to lay footpaths in different neighbourhoods.
Such documents can astonish you if you read closely.
In Adyar, our photographer went out to shoot pictures of footpaths in four different areas. He came back with a sample which told a story.
A stretch of a path which was rarely used had been dug up - to be re-laid.
Elsewhere, the height of one section was taller than the other.
In another place, the pavement had atrophied into the wall of a company.
Time and again, all our newspapers receive letters from senior citizens who discuss footpaths. And we know why these letters are so strongly worded.
Senior men and women go out to shop, take short walks to loosen up or walk across to a kutcheri or to a library. And they dread the traffic and try to find pavements which are either not there, encroached on or in bad condition.
When we built our flyovers, our engineers got rid of the pavements alongside the flyovers to widen the service roads.
And now, after a simple investigation in my neighbourhood I find that the Corporation intends to lay pavements where they are simply not required - in the inner streets.
How do we deal with such atrocious development?
How do we ensure monies are spent on genuine civic needs?
One thing is clear - the civic body does not provide space for interested citizens who wish to play a role in community development.

1 comment:

Ganesh said...

I have been a regular reader of your column.your views are excellent.
Not only footpaths, even roads are laid where it is unnecessary to lay one which just increases the height of the road which in turn leads to various other problems. One can discuss endlessly issues like these and also about traffic. why not the government invite suggestions from public before implementing such projects. The traffic condition near L.B. road, Thiruvalluvar salai signal is pathetic. Half the problem is caused by indisciplined road users. There is a very simple solution for this. When the vehicles come in the wrong lane, the traffic police should not be mute spectators and should ask the erring vehicles to proceed further in the same lane to serve a lesson to these vehicles. If this is done for even one week, there will be discipline among the vehicle users. I really dont know where to give my suggestions. Hence I am putting up these here so that you can highlight these.