Rajesh B. Nair
It was constructed at the cost of about Rs. 50 lakh to improve traffic scenario
— Photo: T. Singaravelou
Soon to disappear: The foot overbridge at the new bus stand in Puducherry
PUDUCHERRY: The first foot overbridge in the town near the new bus stand, in all likelihood, will be demolished if the territorial administration gives its approval to the municipality’s decision to replace it with a subway for pedestrian use.
Conceived during the tenure ofR.V. Janakiraman (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) as Chief Minister in 1999, the structure constructed at the cost of about Rs. 50 lakh was one of the major initiatives in the recent times to improve traffic scenario in the town.
Now with the decision to “demolish the bridge and construct a subway in its place” taken at the council meeting of the municipality on March 5, a section of the councillors, town planners and personnel of the Traffic Department have raised questions on the rationale behind the move. The council took the decision to knock down the structure citing lack of patronage from pedestrians and alleged use of the foot overbridge by anti-socials.
S.Bhaskaran, a Congress councillor, who had raised objections to adopting the resolution, said, “The move will unnecessarily give an impression that councillors showed scant regard for the tax payer’s money, as the overbridge is not even 10 years old.”
Construction of a subway would cost a minimum of Rs. 5 crore, according to an official of the PWD.
Denying that the foot overbridge was not used by the people, a section of the traffic personnel said that around 30 per cent of commuters and pedestrians had been using it during the rush hour.
The traffic police said that they had suggested to the municipality to close it during nights.
They also countered the argument that the bridge received less patronage as it was an arduous task to climb the steps to cross the road. The traffic personnel said that unless the subway was fitted with an escalator, the pedestrians had to make use of the steps.
Traffic police officials also said that it was suggested to the government to install an escalator on the foot overbridge to help people. “Besides, if enforcement is not strict, the subway could be used by antisocials,” they said.
Some of the town planners felt that “a detailed study” should be conducted on whether the subway was suitable for Puducherry.
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