Chaotic traffic turns Pune into a pedestrian’s nightmare

Niranjan Ghate talks about the two accidents that he was involved in while he was merely walking on the road.

pune Updated: Jul 15, 2017 16:52 IST
Niranjan Ghate
Niranjan Ghate
Hindustan Times, Pune
A two-wheeler rides on the footpath in the city endangering pedestrians. Niranjan Ghate is a city resident who suffered two accidents as a pedestrian.(HT PHOTO)
Niranjan Ghate. (HT PHOTO)

I met with an accident twice and in both incidents no vehicle was involved. I was merely walking on the road when both the accidents took place. In one incident I was knocked down by a car which violated a ‘no entry’ on the busy Kumthekar road. In another, I was knocked down by a motorcyclist who was apparently drunk.

Both the incidents show how Pune roads have become unsafe not only for vehicle users but also for pedestrians. The first accident I met with was back in 1998. I was walking near Chitrashala chowk in the morning when a motorcyclist knocked me down and simply vanished. A shopkeeper took me to the hospital. I was at home for almost three months but suffered for two years.

I lost sensation in my leg, which was injured in the accident. I used to stay on the third floor of a building with no lift. I was unable to climb the staircase because of severe pain. It was painful to climb the staircase. Finally I decided to shift some other place. I was looking for a flat, which was either on the ground, or first floor, or had the facility of the lift. This was to ensure that I can climb with minimum pain. My new flat is on the first floor and it has given me some comfort, but it was surely a big decision for me to change home considering my age.

The second accident took place in September 2012, which was 14 years after the first. A car came from Vishrambagwada, violating a ‘no entry’. It was around 5 pm. Can one imagine a car violating no entry on busy Kumtherkar road during peak hours? But, it did happen. It knocked me down. I had a spinal cord injury. Both accidents restricted my movements and snatched away my liberty. Who is responsible for this? Remember I was not using any vehicle both the times. I was a pedestrian.

I have been following unruly scenes in my area for several years. I approached municipal corporation officials and police. I pointed out several illegal activities on the road, which were causing accidents and congestion in the area. Every time they promised me to take action but nothing has happened for years.

There is utter chaos on Laxmi road and Kumthekar road and the surrounding narrow roads. Unauthorised hand carts of food items have encroached upon roads. It is not problem to the traffic alone but also to public health and social peace and security. People do not follow P1 and P2. Vehicles are parked on both sides of the road in an undisciplined manner.

Traffic sign-boards are put up, but they are blackened on the same day and became invisible in the morning. Who is doing this? There are lot of schools in the area. Nobody is sensitive about our future generations. Pedestrians cannot notice footpaths. All the space is encroached upon. Pedestrians cannot walk on the road safely. PMC and police take symbolic action but the situation is back to square one within hours. Conditions in the area, where I stay, is becoming worse every day.

(Niranjan Ghate is a prominent Marathi author and columnist. His books are devoted to science).

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 13:38 IST