Smart footpath project on FC road sees daylight, but pedestrians continue to fight for space
After missing several deadlines, the Fergusson College smart footpath project has swung in service and made business easy for vendors, but it has still failed to serve pedestrians.
While walking from Good luck chowk to Agriculture college on the right-side footpath, a major portion is occupied by vendors selling clothes and other accessories.
When HT visited the spot, the daily commuters and shop owners claimed that no action from the PMC anti-encroachment department has been taken on roadside vendors in the past one month.
“If you visit the spot in the evening, you will see a number of vendors seated in line selling various things. You cannot even walk on the footpath. I have not seen an anti-encroachment vehicle in the last 10 days taking action on these vendors,” said Nikhil Rana from Chat House at FC road.
Madhav Jagtap from PMC who heads the anti-encroachment department was not available as he did not reply to several calls and messages.
“Many private hotels are using footpaths as part of their property and allowing customers to stand and have coffee. They have also put umbrellas in front of their hotels, and no one acts, said Rohit Salve, a regular visitor.
Harshad Abhyankar, director, Save Pune traffic movement said, “There should be a dedicated space for hawkers on the footpath and space for pedestrians, bicycles since hawkers are even found on road where there is no footpath.”
Dattatray Ramchandra Langhe, divisional encroachment officer said, “Every three days we conduct an encroachment drive on FC and Jangli Maharaj road. These vendors keep on coming even after we conduct drives. The number of vendors have gone down in the past and we are taking strict action against them.”
More things to come up
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will take one more month to complete a few more things on the FC road stretch.
“At Goodluck junction where Kalakar kata has been constructed, the PMC will be adding one mural painting. Near the police ground, we are also making one play area for children and it will take one more month. The footpath work is completed,” said Dinkar Gojare, superintendent engineer of PMC’s road department.
The smart footpath work began two years ago in May 2018. The entire stretch on which the footpath construction work was undertaken is 2.5 kilometres starting from Goodluck chowk to Agriculture college. The project includes the building of a footpath on the left flank up to five metres, a cycle track and three metres on the right flank. The cost of the project is ₹25 crore that includes parking lots on both sides.