MONEY, IT is said, talks and s*** walks. The Indore Municipal Corporation seems to concur, going by its callous indifference towards pedestrians. While civic bosses have embarked on a multi-crore road building project to pacify irate motorists, steps enabling pedestrians to safely cross over to the other side remain a distant dream.
For those on foot, crossing, say, AB or MG Road, especially during peak traffic hours, is fraught with danger. Zebra crossings are non-existent, footbridges few and far between and inconveniently situated, to say the least. The one on MG Road, for instance, has been built at the fag end of the Regal-Palasia stretch towards Chhapan Dukan instead of somewhere near the High Court where pedestrian traffic volumes are much higher.
Furthermore, the IMC is now raising the height of the divider along the stretch to prevent people from jumping over. However, no alternative arrangements have been made for pedestrians. Which means that someone on foot will have to walk all the way to either Regal or Palasia traffic intersections in order to get to the other side of the road.
The situation is even worse at the ultra-busy AB Road particularly from LIG Square to Vijay Nagar. Wrenching free from the bottlenecks that inevitably develop in front of CHL Apollo Hospital, evening commuter traffic roars homewards at dizzying speeds. The sheer volume of vehicles makes a 10-minute wait mandatory for those exiting Press Complex and odds are that it won’t be long before a hasty scribe is mowed down by an equally impatient driver.
To be fair, the IMC is planning to set up footbridges-cum-escalators at both MG and AB Road at a cost upwards of Rs 1 crore.
The money, however, would be better spent if the Corporation opted to erect half-a-dozen simple footbridges along those roads. Alternatively, civic bosses could go the Bhopal way and construct subterranean passages for pedestrians. Shops could be built at these places generating sorely needed revenue and the passages could also house public conveniences.
One visit by a top-notch leader was all it took for the IMC to forget its loud and oft-proclaimed promises of eschewing hoardings and banners. Two days before L K Advani arrived in the City hundreds of banners, buntings and wall posters were plastered all over Indore by various BJP factions to boast about their achievements.
Dissension among the saffron ranks came to the fore again during Advani’s visit with a bulk of Mayor-in-Council members loyal to Kailash Vijayvargiya staying away from the function to release the City Development Plan at Vaishnav Stadium.
Those partial to Mayor Uma Shashi Sharma returned the compliment by failing to turn up for the unveiling of the statue of RSS ideologue Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
Overall, though, the Mayor seemed to have the upper hand what with her being featured on the front cover of the CDP booklet alongside Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan while Vijayvargiya was relegated to the back cover.
The civic bosses are planning to import a dolphin to the IMC-run Kamla Nehru zoo. Considering that the zoo simply doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure, one is stumped by the proposal. Unless, of course, IMC mandarins are hoping for inspiration from the second smartest mammal on earth.