Having started with protests at the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) construction site, collecting donations for the district administration and asking the government to hang them if they cannot ensure a service lane to them, Batala Road residents have tried it all, but all seems to have fallen on deaf ears of the authorities.
The Batala road, which is going through a massive construction phase for the much-hyped BRTS, may look great once the project is over. But as far as the current situation is concerned, it is worsening with nobody chipping in for making corrective measures.
Even as the commuters have an option to skip the Batala Road and take some alternative route, the residents and the shopkeepers of the area have no choice other than everyday toil.
The road is full of potholes, craters, uneven surface, diversions and dust, making life hell for the residents and shopkeepers. The precarious situation is aggravated further after even a brief spell of rain, which turns the Batala Road into a life threatening tract, but the administration remained apathetic.
Earlier, when the residents approached deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat (who is on a leave now), he had firmly asked the officials concerned to ensure that the service lanes were constructed, but nothing changed.
When members of the Sagharsh Committee, which is agitating for a service lane, approached DC Pardeep Sabharwal, he too assured them of a service lane, however, that was not enough to convince the agitating residents.
However, what is more surprising is the absence of local bodies minister and city resident Anil Joshi from the scene. Joshi had made a couple of visits to the area, despite that a service lane remained a far-off dream. Although a service lane is on one side of the Batala Road, it’s too narrow and almost useless.
The residents have, however, started a daily protest outside the DC office hoping the things will change; and if it doesn’t change, they said, they would escalate their agitation.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Sanjeev Rampal, convener of the sangharsh committee, said, “We had started the agitation more than a month back. We staged protests, burnt effigies and collected donations, but in turn all that we have today is assurances from the authorities. The road’s condition is too bad for commutation, which is further aggravated by nonfunctional streetlights. It’s fine that the BRTS is coming up, but what about the present condition. What stops the authorities from making a service lane?”
“One side of the area is represented by Joshi, while the other by chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, but they are yet to bring any respite to us,” he added.
Other roads in bad shape too
However, not only the Batala Road, but University Road, Queens Road, Bhandari Bridge area, Mall Road, where the BRTS project is on, have become troublemaker for the residents. At many places, BRTS construction was left in the middle after residents raised voice.