Yesterday, this paper reported about a Colaba woman who broke both her ankles after stumbling on a mound of mud near her home, where the paver blocks had come loose.
Unfortunately, this isn't the lone such incident this city has witnessed. In fact, such accidents are so common and frequent that we treat them with the customary clucking of the tongue, expressing sympathy towards the victims and some ire at the ineptitude of our civic authorities. Perhaps this attitude will change when our dear ones or we become victims of aforementioned accidents.
It's difficult to fathom the mystery behind the loose paver blocks that has haunted Mumbai for years now. First they are installed, then, they are removed and the next thing you know, they are dotting pavements across the city. Meanwhile, senior citizens struggle to negotiate streets outside their homes, justifiably wary of stepping out.
The first aspect the civic authorities must look into is installation of apt signboards at appropriate places to inform the public about work in progress. Also, project completion deadlines, which are often mentioned on the signboards, must be adhered to. Loose gravel or paver blocks must be disposed of after a road project is completed.
Pedestrians have come to live around potholes and, sometimes, lack of pavements altogether. It's the attitude of the survivor in a city, but such an attitude may eventually prove to be dangerous, misplaced and counterproductive.
Given the high taxes we pay, we are entitled to pedestrian-friendly spaces. The civic body must deliver on its promises. The metropolis has become a battleground and, unfortunately, the most lethal step is the one we take on our way to work, to shops, to bus stations, to catch a train, or while going about our daily life.
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