College students to help save Mumbai’s footpaths | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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College students to help save Mumbai’s footpaths

Beyond the walls of their classroom and pages of their thick textbooks, college students can now use their time after class to make the city encroachment-free and pedestrian-friendly.

mumbai Updated: Aug 07, 2012 02:47 IST
Reetika Subramanian

Beyond the walls of their classroom and pages of their thick textbooks, college students can now use their time after class to make the city encroachment-free and pedestrian-friendly.


As part of The Walking Project, an initiative launched by five citizens to reclaim Mumbai’s lost footpaths, college students will be roped in later this month to play the role of local pavement auditors and engagers of community stakeholders.

The month-old project, launched in conjunction with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, will give students the opportunity to secure extra credits. Students will also get the opportunity to interact with experts and environmentalists to understand the civic issues that directly affect them.

“From conducting audits and rating the walk-ability of roads, to analysing surveyed data, students will engage local community stakeholders in creating awareness about encroachment-free zones,” said Vivek Gilani, co-founder of the project.

“At present, we are in talks with several college principals to secure requisite permissions to launch this initiative in their own institutions. This will function as an internship programme, and give students knowledge about the streets in their own neighbourhood,” he added.

With regards to the skills to be a part of this voluntary project, the founders said that apart from basic analytical and communication skills, the students should have the dream to see the city’s pavements being used only by pedestrians.

Under this project, five key roads from each of the 24 municipal wards in Mumbai will be adopted for studying their walk-ability index.

“On account of crowded or badly designed pavements, hawkers, car parking and other encroachments, pedestrians are forced to walk on the main road. This is dangerous,” said Rishi Agarwal, environmentalist and project co-founder. “We need to create awareness for sustainable development in the city, ensuring that it is free of pollution and illegal encroachments over the next ten years.”