The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) not to invest in installation of escalators/elevators on foot overbridges (FOBs) as it was of no use.
Beginning 2011, GMADA has spent more than Rs 2 crore on constructing four FOBs. However, the FOBs are hardly being used.
“We could have asked you to dismantle it (the FOBs). But you have spent so much of money. But let’s not invest more as it is of no use,” the high court bench observed during a hearing on the issue, where it had sought a response from GMADA on a report submitted to it by Punjab traffic adviser Navdeep Asija.
GMADA chief administrator AK Sinha had argued that footfall on the FOBs would increase in due course of time as escalators were installed and traffic increased.
Punjab traffic adviser, Navdeep Asija had told the HC that the volume of traffic was not very high and there was no need of such an infrastructure. “If escalators are not installed, at least we would save on the electricity usage on this,” Asija said, adding that these were acting as traffic hazards as there were hoardings on these. Following this, the HC bench directed GMADA to remove these hoardings.
‘FOBs approved by CM, Badal’
GMADA told the HC that the decision to construct the FOBs was taken in meeting chaired by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is chairman Punjab Urban Planning and Urban Development Authority (PUDA).
The decision was taken for better development and upgrade of basic amenities in SAS Nagar. However, the court observed that GMADA could not escape responsibility.
“Some officer should have examined all these aspects. You cannot expect the CM to look into all these things. He is not an expert,” the HC said.
GMADA added that FOBs were constructed in view of future vehicular as well as pedestrian traffic.
Not even a single death has been reported in these places, the authority claimed. On ads, GMADA said that the FOBs were handed over to SAS Nagar administration. The court later asked GMADA to file a compliance report and not to make any future investment.
GMADA was asked to submit a report after Asija claimed that three of the FOBs had been constructed at places where pedestrians were not prone to accidents. “The FOBs were built without any scientific study,” Asija’s report added.