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High Court bats for pedestrians

india Updated: Aug 27, 2009 00:21 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times
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The High Court on Wednesday said the state government was not doing enough to make the city pedestrian-friendly.

“You are going to fine pedestrians (for jaywalking), that is fine, but also make way for them to walk,” said Justice Bilal Nazki. Hindustan Times had reported on August 25, that the traffic police department is planning a serious drive against jaywalking, to be enforced after Ganeshotsav.

The court is hearing a public interest litigation filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) seeking implementation of Traffic Restraint Scheme formulated in 2000 to decongest the city’s roads.

The division bench of Justice Nazki and Justice A.R. Joshi said the city was “most unfriendly to pedestrians”. The court said the state had failed to keep footpaths free of hawkers and the police had failed to control cars at traffic signals.

“Cars are supposed to stop before the zebra crossing, but they always stop either on the zebra crossing or beyond it. Please ask them (police) to do something about it,” said Justice Nazki. “It is difficult to walk in this city. Footpaths are all occupied. If I don’t walk carefully, I will not reach (my destination).”

BEAG filed an affidavit replying to the state’s suggestions to decongest the city. BEAG’s affidavit says the government’s suggestions “only incentivise rather than disincentivise the use of private transport.”

Its adds that the measures outlined by the government do not properly address the problem of congestion caused by private vehicles. It also points out that no time frame has been identified for the implementation of the state’s suggestions.

It also questioned the utility of the Bandra-Worli sealink, saying it is of no use to the public as BEST buses do not ply on it due to high toll rates.

The matter will be heard after two weeks.