Your Space: Ramwadi underpassis a danger to citizens
It was shocking to know that the second half of the two-way Ramwadi vehicular underpass on Ahmednagar road was inaugurated on February 13 even though the work has not been completed.pune Updated: Feb 18, 2018 15:22 IST
The Ramwadi underpass on Ahmednagar road connecting Vimannagar to Kalyaninagar continues to be hazardous to traffic even today.
It was shocking to know that the second half of the two-way Ramwadi vehicular underpass on Ahmednagar road was inaugurated on February 13 even though the work has not been completed. Further, the underpass has not been certified safe for usage by Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) project technical team, which is entrusted with handling and completing the work.
By giving in to the pressure from some prominent residents, the politicians in the area have compromised the safety of all those who will now have to use the underpass under hazardous conditions without safety compliances in place.
If they had waited for another week, safety measures such as a steel divider, visible buffers, chevrons, blinkers, cat’s eye, rubble strips, speed breakers according to IRC (Indian Road Congress) norms and sign boards would have been put in place.
At this spot, human life has been constantly at stake since the past four years due to unsafe driving practises by indisciplined drivers who are keen on using ‘shortcuts’ and taking U-turns arbitrarily, putting the lives of innocent residents in danger.
I have been pursuing the issue relentlessly since the past four years with the PMC and city traffic police. I have been demanding the completion and correct execution of a two-way road in order to avoid accidents and fatalities at the spot because of vehicles which take a wrong way for convenience.
Even though I am not elected by the people, I have been running from pillar to post to get a feasible solution to the paradox that was facing us. My concern is and will always be compliances and safety to life.
Yogesh Mullik (corporator, prabhag 05) and Jagdish Mulik (MLA Wadgaonsheri), who have been elected by the citizens, should have been there to solve the problems related to the underpass in the past four years.
Why did they not intervene when the project did not complete in May 2013 as per plan and an acquisition issue cropped up?
There were other occasions when their intervention was needed, for example, when only one side was opened to public incorrectly in October 2014 because the JnNURM funding would have stopped otherwise.
The politicians could have been there to initiate a dialogue with Bharpaidevi Agarwal to withdraw her suit no 1696 of 2008 in public interest, or when some of the 170 plus hearings were held for the lifting the stay on the construction of the underpass.
They should have used their position to find a solution to lift the stay which would have allowed a public road to be completed.
If any accident occurs in the absence of safety measures and compliances, I will not hesitate to file an FIR and seek appropriate steps.
Nylon manja menace needs to be dealt with firmly
This is with reference to the recent report about the tragic death of a young media professional after she was severely injured on her neck after a nylon manja, a thread used for flying kites, entangled around her body.
‘The Kite Runner’ was the 2003 debut novel of Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-American doctor who lives in the United States of America. Khaled quit his medical practice after this book became successful and went on to write two more highly successful novels. The book features a multi-generation story of guilt and remorse, of parent-child relationship, and of the beauty of his native land, Afghanistan. In 1999, the Taliban banned kite flying saying that it distracted youth from practising their religion. Khaled, who fondly remembered flying kites as a child in Afghanistan, thought it was cruel to ban flying kites and wrote a 25-page short story about it. Publishers rejected the manuscript and he put it away. A friend read it and advised him to make a novel out of it and the rest is history.
Kite running is defined by Wikipedia as the practice of running after and catching kites drifting in the sky which have been cut loose in battle with other kites. In other words, it is a by-product of kite fighting.
Kite fighting is practised in many countries, but is particularly associated with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. (The ban on kite flying in Afghanistan was lifted after the Taliban was removed from power in 2001).
Of these countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal, and Pakistan have a problem that the others do not; kite fighters in these countries use manja, an abrasive string gummed, coloured and coated with powdered glass. Manja has been the cause of many injuries and/or deaths of motorcyclists in these countries as they can easily slit one’s throat. A kite string coated in manja entangled on overhead electric wires also acts as a conductor of electricity, giving rise to the risk of electrocution. Manja has also been found to hurt birds as it gets entangled on their wings.
Over time, these countries have enacted legislation banning manja, but enforcement of these laws has been a challenge. One major reason for this is the illegal import and sale of manja-coated strings from a regional superpower country, available at roughly half the price of local cotton strings. Please note that the list of countries mentioned above does not include this regional superpower.
The problem is real. Our laws are unable to stop this from happening. What is the solution?
I propose a three-pronged approach:
I propose the attachment of a throat protector (like the ones used by professional baseball catchers) to the helmet. In fact, manja could possibly become the reason why helmets became fashionable again, albeit with the throat protector added as an accessory.
The government should tighten its surveillance against smuggling, especially if the origin of the shipment is the regional superpower. As a country, we need to protect ourselves from this ‘guerrilla’ warfare being waged on our people by an unscrupulous neighbour.
The government should subsidise at least 50% the local cotton strings used for kite flying, so that it is no longer economically viable for people to buy manja-coated strings.
If we are able to solve this problem using these ideas, we can finally tell our regional superpower neighbour in chaste Gujarati, ‘Kai Po Che’ (I have cut).
First Published: Feb 18, 2018 15:18 IST