‘Mess’merising, Shabby, Un‘smart’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Apr 2018 10:21:03


By Kartik Lokhande,

Some dreams leave irritation in eyes when one wakes up to reality.
This exactly is the case with the ‘Smart City’ dream and various projects intertwined with it. Pleased with the tall claims made by the powers-that-be and city fathers, Nagpurians also had started seeing the dreams of their beloved city turning into some kind of a paradise. Wide cement roads maintained neatly, proper ramps joining the cemented highways with smaller roads to nearby localities, garden-like road medians, well-illuminated streets, clean footpaths, posh bus stops, covered manholes and a smooth enjoyable ride or drive... the list went on.

Alas! The ground situation is not so rosy. A simple reality check of even the Ring Road stretching Chhhatrapati Nagar Square to Hingna Road T-Point turns the dream into a rubble of irritation. What comes out of reality check is nothing but a picture of mess left behind by careless execution of work. An observant ride from Chhatrapati Nagar Square to Hingna Road T-Point reveals a lot many things.

At places, concrete slabs marking the road-divider have fallen off. Either the people in nearby areas must have hit those slabs causing their collapse, or the people who executed the work did not care to ensure that the slabs were rooted firmly. In any of the cases, the picture looks ugly and exposes shabbiness of work. One can click several pictures of such spots. At some places, like the one near Trimurti Nagar, people (miscreants may be a better description) have purposely brought down the cement slabs marking the road median to pave way for them to cross the road easily riding their two-wheeler. One wonders if authorities are not vigilant enough to find this and carry out the repair work without wasting time.

But, ‘without wasting time’ is too much of an expectation from ‘the authorities’.
Else, how can one explain pipes and electricity poles and cables lying abandoned for months on end? One fails to understand if the work is to be done well and in time, how come such materials procured from public money lay abandoned for months on end.
Else, how can one explain manholes of gutters dug up and the dangerous portals to gutters kept open for months on end?

One can easily find these things near Nagoba Mandir Square, road leading from Ring Road to Bhavan’s B P Vidya Mandir’s Trimurti Nagar branch, and at regular intervals of locations. Broken manhole covers not repaired for a long time can be seen in good numbers.
One can go on quoting examples of how deadlines have either been missed or not given at all for completion of various works. But, there is more to the ‘messy’ story.

A glance at Trimurti Nagar bus stop reveals the mess. Looking at it, no Nagpurian can say that Nagpur is being shaped into a ‘smart’ city. The bus stop gets a ‘perfect’ backdrop of cables clung to the fence of Trimurti Nagar Garden. The footpath is seen buried under the rubble. The condition of so-called bus stop is shabby. But, the condition of Jaitala Road bus stop near Mangalmurti Square is no different. Probably, a sarcastic comment comes to one’s mind, a new model of shabby bus stops is being tried in the city.

Shabbiness, sadly, is becoming a characteristic feature of city’s much-touted transformation. One can get an evidence of it in lot many things. For instance, along the Trimurti Nagar stretch of Ring Road, after completion of cementing of the road, paver blocks were laid. Soon after, they were plucked out. Now, for months, they are kept aside as if they are showcase of shabby planning and careless execution.

One can find evidence of shabby planning in almost uninterrupted long stretches of choked storm water drains along cement road from Chhatrapati Nagar Square to Hingna Road T-Point. If storm water drains are not freed of the choke before monsoon, the first few good spells of rainfall may expose the tall claim of city becoming a ‘smart’ one. Road median has turned into a dumping ground for rubble, which again points at shabby planning. Had the planning been good, the authorities would have instructed the contractors concerned to place the rubble at some other designated spot.

In the median, there are several locations where the precariously loose roots of cement bases of street-lights are visible. Of course, new bases have been constructed, but the inherent tardiness of pace of installing new poles and removing the old ones must be stopping the authorities to put pressure on agencies concerned or contractors concerned to work fast.

As far as careless execution is concerned, there are enough examples. The poles of street-lights were supposed to be inside the road median. But, at more than two places, the contractors concerned forgot to get the poles inside the road median. As a result of this carelessness, safety of vehicle-riders is at stake, especially at night. Another instance of carelessness execution is absence of proper slopes or ramps from the Ring Road to the roads joining it to nearby localities. An example of this is a spot opposite Anusaya Mangal Karyalaya. The vehicle-riders face difficulty while descending from Ring Road to the joining road.

Isn’t reality a ‘mess’merising tale of shabbiness?
One sincerely hopes that the powers-that-be do not only make announcements but also ensure that execution of projects is careful, neat, and smooth. Else, dreams may just become reality in terms of spending of public money, and not in terms of quality of life of the city as a whole.