Guwahatians Feel Dividers Should Be Complemented With FOBs And Underpasses
• G Plus asked its readers if construction of wider dividers is a boon or a bane
• Some felt they will help in better traffic management
• Several said they are proving to be problematic for pedestrians
• A few Guwahatians said residents need to be conscientious
• Jaywalking could prove to be dangerous, they said
• Concerns were raised for elderly and differently-abled at FOBs which lack lifts
• A few said that citizens should cooperate and cross at designated places
The construction of dividers along the Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev Path, commonly known as GS Road as also on MG Road along the riverside of Fancy Bazar, has been a matter of debate since the beautification work began a few months ago.
While many feel the construction of concrete dividers will help in managing the traffic better and will prevent accidents, several people also believe that these dividers are proving to be problematic for pedestrians.
G Plus recently asked pedestrians and drivers on social media: “Have the dividers been effective in their purpose or are they a bane for the city folk?”
Responding to this, a majority of the people felt that the authorities should have kept in mind the problems that would be encountered by pedestrians while trying to cross the roads and said that the city needs more foot over bridges (FOBs). On the other hand, a few residents also raised the issue of residents’ need to be conscientious and not cross the roads by scaling the dividers.
“Now we need a law for such people. The government is working hard to stop accidents but these people do not understand and are risking their lives,” said Kirti Prakash Pandey, a city resident.
It should be mentioned that the dividers have been constructed on the full stretch of the two roads and they covers prime areas in Guwahati having large chunks of population.
Under the beautification project, 80 cm wide dividers are being constructed on the entire stretch of GS Road which is around 11 kms in length (excluding the flyovers). Additionally, saplings are being planted in the dividers to make it visually appealing and also purify the air.
Although the initiative was first taken forward in GS Road area of the city, the PWD minister has given a green signal to the department to implement the project in other areas of the city as well after assessment of the results. Further, currently the divider construction work is also ongoing in full swing at the Chandmari and Bamunimaidan areas of the city.
Many residents said that along with wider dividers, foot over bridges and underpasses were the need of the hour for smooth management of traffic.
“Along with dividers, we should have footbridges, subway crossings, signals with zebra crossing and working traffic lights etc and most importantly willingness of the people to adhere to the rules and use the facilities,” mentioned Himadri Basumatary Deuri, a Guwahatian.
In the same vein, Ankhur Agarwal said, “Actually the dividers are good for preventing accidents but firstly subways had to be constructed so that people can easily cross the road.”
Another respondent, Nazia Sultana, said that these dividers could become dangerous. “I don’t understand what they have got by creating such a big divider and a railing without making any flyover or footpath. A serious accident can happen any day. It would be better if they break a part of the divider and make way for people. This divider has become a life hazard,” she said.
Currently, citizens have to walk for a few hundred metres to cross the road safely at the zebra crossings. The absence of adequate numbers of foot-over bridges has made matters worse. There is one foot over bridge in Ulubari near the Hanuman Mandir and then none until Dispur Secretariat so far a GS Road is concerned.
A few also raised concerns for the elderly and differently-abled who face problems accessing the steep flights of stairs at foot over bridges in the absence of lifts or escalators.
Further, arguing in favour of pedestrians, Bhaskar Phukan said, “The long stretch without a way to cross the road makes things difficult for pedestrians. There should be some thought as to how the people would cross the road.”
On the other hand, a city resident, Rupam B said, “Unplanned construction of dividers. There should have been ample gaps to clear roads in this heat. People nowadays don't have time to search for gaps as these are also not clearly mentioned. Nothing is going to improve. Most of the projects happen in Guwahati especially on GS road and I hope they develop other areas to go with other cities. Only one place gets it and others are deprived of it.”
Some also felt that authorities are taking such measures for the convenience of the people and that the citizens should cooperate and avoid jaywalking.
Along these lines, Sohail Mazumdar said, “Pedestrian crossing sign is there still people are going over it. These rules should be there to civilize people. It’s the 21st century, you can see how rules are maintained in developed countries. Only in our country people crib over rules because they like anarchy and then again everyone will complain why we are backward. It is everyone’s collective responsibility to maintain discipline. I agree that modern living has suddenly hit our society instead of the slow advent of modernity like in the west where people adapted easily.
Here, in two generations, people have seen so much change that the human mind cannot accept these new orders.”