“I just don’t understand,” he says as he measures a 2-foot tall footpath in Begumpet, which is a whole 459.6 mm taller than the prescribed height for a footpath.

Meet the Hyderabad man measuring footpaths to throw spotlight on road safetyYoutube: S Adishankar
news Road Safety Saturday, August 25, 2018 - 16:42

Does Hyderabad have the world’s tallest footpath? A Hyderabad-based road safety consultant, who is measuring the height of footpaths in his YouTube videos, certainly seems to think so.

”This footpath has a staircase that leads to the main road, but I do not understand the logic behind it. This could be the world’s first footpath that has a staircase that leads to a road,” says S Adishankar in the barely two-minute-long video.

This particular footpath is near his house in Begumpet.

Adishankar has been uploading videos on his YouTube channel for nearly two years now, and most of them focus on the administration’s lax attitude towards road safety. His most recent video series has him walking around the city, armed with a measuring tape, measuring the heights of footpaths.

The height of the ideal footpath should not exceed 150 mm as per the Indian Road Congress guidelines on footpaths (IRC:103-2012, 6.1.4).

This particular footpath, however, stands at a majestic height of 2 feet, that is 609.6 mm – a whole 459.6 mm above the prescribed height.

“There is a school at the end of the road and small children use that footpath frequently. I do not understand the logic behind the construction,” says Adishankar, who is also the Secretary of Roadkraft, a city-based NGO working on road safety awareness. “I wanted to make these videos for a long time now. I used to post videos from my car dash cam showing the poor road safety practices in Hyderabad, but I wanted to measure the height of footpaths for some time now.”

Hyderabad has a road length of 9,100 km, but only 450 km of these roads has footpaths.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) plans to construct 320 km of footpaths across the city, at an estimated to cost Rs 82 crore before this year ends. These footpaths will be set up along two-, three-, four- and six-lane roads that presently don’t have any footpaths. The project will be executed either by the GHMC or by the Hyderabad Road Development Corporation (HRDC).

To build footpaths, the GHMC floats tenders and awards them to contractors who undertake the work.

“We work based on estimates and not standards or specifications set by IRC. That is not the right way to build footpaths,” says Rao S Bhaskar, president, GHMC Contractors Association, Hyderabad. “The engineers with GHMC are supposed to take measurements and do the calculations to find what the footpath requirement is and then call for the tender. But what is happening is that only estimates are being taken and the footpath is constructed based on those estimates, then how will there be any standardisation?”

After the construction of footpaths, engineers from GHMC are to inspect them to ascertain if the contractor has followed the standards.

“They do the inspection and if the footpath is not of the standard, they are to give contractors a notice. But what happens is that the engineers themselves do not know the standards and so they don’t say anything. A lot of public money is thus wasted,” adds Bhaskar.

The GHMC Chief Engineer did not respond to phone calls or text messages.

As for Adishankar, he intends to bring out more videos to encourage people to follow road safety rules and highlight issues related to its implementation.

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