Half-hearted, haphazard development

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Feb 2018 11:13:09


Staff Reporter,

For past couple of years, Nagpurians have been suffering from inconvenience caused due to delays in completion of cement roads, simultaneous works on certain stretches creating hurdles in smooth flow of traffic, and shoddy approach to construction of cement roads. After waiting for some time, ‘The Hitavada’ is again highlighting the woes of the people.

Those executing the projects like construction of cement roads, Nagpur Metro Rail project, and so-called repairs of tar roads, may get offended by the prefixes ‘half-hearted’ and ‘haphazard’ to the word ‘development’. But, these prefixes best describe what the Nagpurians are feeling about the so-called development going on everywhere in the city. Day in and day out, Nagpurians are feeling fed up of the inconvenience littered everywhere on roads. 

Littered? Yes. The people using the cemented stretch of Ring Road from Padole Hospital Square to Mangalmurti Square towards Hingna T-Point, will tell you. One can see that the paver-blocks that were supposed to be arranged on the side of the cement road, have not been installed properly. In some parts, though the paver-blocks have been arranged, the debris are on cement road. The wide street-dividers are there, but there are wide gaps also where the vertical cement slabs have not been placed.

Those coming from Subhash Nagar T-Point to Mangalmurti Square will tell you that though there is a cement road, feel that they are getting a camel ride in parts because of uneven cementing. The people going from Mangalmurti Square to Subhash Nagar T-Point have to go wrong-side on the cement road -- which accommodates traffic from both directions -- because the other side is blocked despite cementing of road. Mangalmurti Square to Subhash Nagar T-Point stretch of road is cemented largely, but not opened for traffic, for reasons best known to the authorities. This is causing immense inconvenience to the people who have their residences in lanes and by-lanes that open on this blocked portion of cemented-but-not-opened road.

If one goes straight from Subhash Nagar T-Point to Ambazari, one has to face dense traffic congestion. For, a good width of road sliding towards Ambazari lake overflow point, is blocked for the construction of Nagpur Metro Rail project for months together now. As a result, the dense traffic coming from Hingna gets blended with traffic coming from Subhash Nagar, near Gajanan Maharaj Mandir. To add to the woes, there is a bus stop where city buses stop right in the rush hours in the morning and the evening. To worsen the situation, the tar road available for traffic is in an extremely bad shape. Some part of it was dug for some work and then cement filling was done in the most unscientific and unskilled manner. This is a perfect recipe for a major road mishap. If the credit for no mishap (one never knows if some mishaps have gone unreported) has to be given, it should be given to the Nagpurians, and not to the caution (??) of any of the authorities. 

From Ambazari T-Point, if one takes a turn towards road leading to Shankar Nagar Square, one is again faced with problems. Again, a good width of the road is blocked for Nagpur Metro Rail project work for endless months now. As one passes by the big board-barricades placed by Nagpur Metro, one just cannot resist feeling the pain in the slogan ‘Today’s Pain, Tomorrow’s Gain’. In this stretch too, traffic density is immense. However, whatever tar road is available for traffic, is in such a bad shape that one wonders if development has such an ugly outcome causing inconvenience to the people for months on end. If the dense traffic is to give way to an ambulance or a city bus, only chaos is visible. Sadly, traffic cops are not available all the time to clear the chaos. Nagpur Metro Rail project employees are there, but people not used to obeying their whistles, just ignore the sound of the whistle and add to the density of the chaos.

From Sitabuldi, there is dense flow of traffic till Rahate Colony Square. From then on, it gets denser. For, again, Nagpur Metro Rail project work is occupying a good width of road on both sides. If one takes a turn towards Deekshabhoomi, one gets to see cement road on both sides. But, there is a problem with the road that leads towards Deekshabhoomi -- half of the road is cemented and rest half is just paver-blocks. This particular portion was ‘completed’ hastily as the convoy of Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, was to take this route during his maiden visit to the city last year. The problem with paver-blocks is that they are uneven and when there is dense traffic, it is very difficult for two-wheeler riders to drive steadily on paver-blocks. To add to the woes, the bridge portion is not cement-topped. There, too, are paver-blocks with some of the blocks acting as protrusions.

If one moves ahead, one gets to see shoddy ramps in almost every junction or square on this road. The problem worsens as one moves ahead towards Matey Chowk, and then towards Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) entrance near IT Park. For months, the work is ‘progressing’. Talking of VNIT, even if one takes the road from Shraddhanand Peth to VNIT’s Bajaj Nagar gate, one can get rewarded with utter inconvenience. There is a cement road starting from the junction where VNIT entrance gate opens, to Lokmat Square. However, in this stretch also, the ramps are so shoddily done at junctions that the worst design and execution awards should go to those planning and doing it.

In Rameshwari area, the half-constructed cement road leading to Bhagwan Nagar has become a nighmare for the citizens. The other portion of the road is narrow. As a result, only this half-constructed road portion is used by road-users from both the directions. Thus, a half-constructed single-lane road is accomodating two-lane traffic. The road is encroached by tea stalls, pan kiosks, etc. Small accidents have become a daily routine for people using this road. Here, too, there is no proper ramp to and fro this road. As a result, people from nearby localities face inconvenience daily.

Let us take another stretch. Near the Central Museum, the civic body has constructed cement road but the ramp of the cement road has been left incomplete. The reason is incomprehensible, of course. But, this incomprehensibility blends well with the overall personality of the civic body. The incomplete ramp poses great problem for the vehicular traffic, and it has become accident spot for the citizens as vehicles coming from Zero Mile and vehicles going towards Zero Mile are using this road without any divider. The contractor did not complete the road as it has been opened for traffic. The piles of paver-blocks are seen on the sides of the road. Probably, they are for the purpose of showcasing that ‘developmental work is in progress’ in the city that is dreaming of becoming a ‘Smart City’.

Smart City? What a joke!

The passengers going to Ajni Railway Station also face hardships due to Nagpur Metro Rail project work. The Metro Rail Company has stopped the entry to Ajni Railway Station from Congress Nagar side. They have placed tall barricades to stop traffic from Congress Nagar. The passengers coming from Congress Nagar to board Mumbai and Pune bound trains from Ajni Railway Station suffer a great inconvenience due to this blockade. Senior citizens have to take a long route from Wardha Road to Ajni Chuna Bhatti to catch the train at the station. The passengers who do not know about road blockade miss trains. Does someone care for them? There is no visible sign.

Sanjay Bangale, Chairman of Project Committee of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), recently directed the civic administration to finish the incomplete work of this road. However, the civic body has not started the work, leave alone, finishing the incomplete work. The cement road work has been delayed for several months. The contractors completed one side of the road but the construction of the other side has not started. These are just a few examples of inconvenience littered around in the city by the authorities concerned. However, every Nagpurian is convinced that the situation is more or less the same in other parts of the city also where the works -- either cement road construction or Nagpur Metro Rail project or laying of cables or any other project -- are in ‘progress’ for months together now.

One wonders if Nagpurians have got too much of tolerance, or the authorities concerned have excessive laid-back approach to executing developmental projects. Considering the prevailing situation, one feels that it could be mix of both. But, in both the cases, the basic onus for proper and timely execution of works is on the authorities concerned as well as the political leadership of the city. And, as there are no visible signs of that, one feels it right to describe the present-day so-called development as ‘half-hearted’ and ‘haphazard’. Will it change???

Students, a worried lot 

The students and their parents are worried because of the ongoing haphazardly planned simultaneous constructions in the Orange City, as the examinations are drawing closer. The examinations of Class X and Class XII will be conducted in February and March. The examinations are from 11 am. The students have examination centres far away from their residences. If they have to reach the examination centres, they have to start from residences nearly two to three hours ahead as traffic is very dense during morning hours. If they get stuck up in a traffic jam during this period, they may not able to appear for the examinations in time. This will affect their future.

As per the new rule, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has warned the students that they will not be allowed to appear in the examination if they do not reach respective examination centres on time.
A parent living in Reshimbag, whose daughter has got Hadas High School as her examination centre, is worried. For, the distance between his residence and his daughter’s examination centre is about 9 kms. He said that he is worried about how to cross hurdles to reach the centre in time, given the construction work going on at several places and dense traffic in morning hours. But, he is not alone. There are many parents sharing the same worry. Agreed that development is for the better future. But, what if casual approach to development affects the future of students adversely? Have the authorities got any answer?