Road safety seems to be of little concern to the local municipal corporation (MC) in the assembly constituency, represented by the state local bodies minister Chunni Lal Bhagat. Due to the inordinate delay of more than four years in completion of the Jalandhar-Kala Sanghian stretch in the city's outskirts, people are risking their lives while commuting on the road.
People have got used to getting injured while commuting, but the latest addition to the injured list might finally have to act as a wake-up call for the authorities.
On Saturday evening, Taranveer Singh (2), a resident of Kot Sadiq, received head injuries after he fell from his bicycle on Jalandhar-Kala Sanghian road, due to its poor condition near here.
"Though he was riding on the cycle opposite his house, the front tyre of his cycle got struck in the stones laid on the road by the MC. He unsuccessfully tried to pull up front tyre, but could not do so and fell with huge impact, head-first on a sharp stone. He received four stitches in the head. The injury could have been much more serious. Only God saved him. What is shocking is that the stones have been just put up there for more than two years," said Harcharan Singh, grandfather of Taranveer.
He demanded that the MC must complete all pending work on this 'dangerous' road.
Thousands of residents, living in Kot Sadiq, Thind Enclave, Khaira colony, Sai Colony, Kanshi Nagar, Guru Nanak Nagar and Green Avenue on either side of this stretch have been inconvenienced for over four years now, but not a single step has been laid to finish the road and make life easy.
Interestingly, even the work on laying sewerage lines on this road took more than two years. It was only then that the stones were laid, but then the project was kept pending.
"Six months back, a labourer's 12-year-old son received serious face injuries after a stone hit him, after being deflected off a speeding truck. This is the kind of danger we face. We have requested the minister Chunni Lal Bhagat to get the road costructed a number of times, but to no avail," Gulzar Singh of Thind Enclave alleged.
The residents also alleged that several people had been injured due to the bad condition of the road and the thoughtless way in which stones had just been stacked up.
Kuldeep Singh, a sweet shop owner, claimed that his business had suffered a lot due to the road, since customers preferred to take other routes. "This zone is risky and the traffic has decreased, making me lose business. The MC should complete the work at the earliest," he added.
Residents claimed that the road must be completed within this month as during rains, it will virtually become a death trap with people being forced to suffer.
"There is no drainage system for exit of rain water. This road gets converted into a temporary pond during the rains. The relatives even don't prefer to visit us during rainy season," a resident claimed.
Residents alleged that bad roads pose a serious health risk to them.
"Those prone to neck and back problems are affected the most. Every time they drive on these roads, their problem gets worse," says a resident.
Residents also have higher maintenance costs of their vehicles here. "I purchased a new Alto car last year and it already looks like a 10-year-old vehicle, thanks to bumpy road. The wheel balancing of car cannot sustain even for 20 days. We have to either shell out money every 15 days for wheel balancing or drive the car in a defective condition. It's horrible!" said another resident on condition of anonymity.
Mayor Sunil Jyoti said that the civic body had obtained state government sanction to enhance project cost by 25% due to cost escalation. "We are spending Rs 87 lakh on carpeting the new road. The work will start in 10 days and will finish in next 15 days," Jyoti, accompanied by the commissioner Vinay Bublani, added.
MP slams Bhagat
Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee alleged that Bhagat has failed to get development works initiated in his own constituency. "The MC is bankrupt. They somehow arranged a Rs 60-crore loan to clear previous liabilities of the contractors. Can loans help in developing the city? The government is a big failure," he claimed.