'Eega Footpath Nammade' (Now footpath is ours) campaigners walked in Sheshadripuram highlighting dug up roads, dumping of debris and indiscriminate parking of vehicles.

Footpath walk in Bengaluru, Sheshadripuram
news Civic Sunday, February 07, 2021 - 16:09

Launching a campaign for better footpaths in Bengaluru, a group of residents in the city's Seshadripuram area held a 1.6 km loop walk negotiating the pits dug up and left open, dumping of debris and indiscriminate parking of vehicles on footpaths along the way.

The walk, held from Seshadripuram Main Road to Mantri Mall and back on Saturday evening, was attended by residents who called for measures to be taken for the safety of pedestrians. It was coordinated by Citizens for Bengaluru, a civic organisation working for citizen's rights. 

One of the main assurances sought by these residents is the appointment of pedestrian safety commissioners at the zonal and city levels, who should be tasked with monthly coordination meetings with all parastatals and traffic police. The residents highlighted Bengaluru's dubious record of highest pedestrian fatalities (272) in 2019 as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.

"The public resource of footpaths/roads have multiple stakeholders, all of whom are allowed to dig/dump simultaneously, without coordination but no owner whose responsibility the roads and footpaths are. Appointment of these Pedestrian Safety Special Commissioners signals that the government is serious about reducing road kills of Bengalureans and also proves a platform for local citizen input from Ward Committees to be rolled up," Tara Krishnaswamy, Co-founder, Citizens for Bengaluru said.

"While coordination between agencies won’t solve all footpath problems overnight, we can be certain that lack of coordination is only costing our lives and limbs. It behooves agencies to synchronise their plans and implantation with each other at the zonal level so as to be effective," she added.

Other residents also echoed Tara's calls for fresh measures to ensure civic bodies like BBMP, BESCOM and BWSSB, which are in charge of basic amenities in Bengaluru, are working in sync. "Safe, convenient, blockage free footpaths are a must for a city especially for a fast growing city like Bengaluru...all govt agencies like BBMP, BESCOM, BWSSB involved in civic activities on the roads and footpaths should coordinate with each other... After all, lives and limbs of pedestrians matter," Chitra Venkatesh of Kumara Park Resident Welfare Association said. 

Actor Sruthi Hariharan also took part in the event. She said, “I used to walk to school entirely on the footpath, now it is impossible. I joined this campaign with citizens to ask the government to take responsibility for pedestrian safety  and ensure coordination and ownership among agencies.” Differently abled sports person Venkatesh Ethiraj also took part at the event.

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