Neglected footpaths on Old Airport Road imperil seniors

Neglected footpaths on Old Airport Road imperil seniors

TELL-ALL: A shabby footpath just outside Manipal Hospitals on Old Airport Road. DH PHOTO/JANARDHAN B K

Walking along the footpath last month, Saraswathi (68) injured her leg on her way to a medical shop near Manipal Hospitals on the Old Airport Road.

She had to get her knee treated. “Not just me, a lot of senior citizens living here struggle to navigate that footpath. It’s busy but remains in bad condition,” she said.

Seniors living in the vicinity of Old Airport Road concur with Saraswathi, describing traversing the two-kilometre footpath as a nightmare. Despite more than 10,000 pedestrians using the footpath every day, it remains in a dilapidated condition. 

The footpath has gaping holes in places where the slabs are missing, while the cement blocks along the way cause obstruction. Besides, vendors have set up shop and the optical fibre cables hang down from tree branches in some sections. 

Basavanna (62) who resides on Old Airport Road said it is nearly impossible to traverse the footpath in the night time. “I live alone with my wife and have to walk down the footpath to buy grocery and other things as my wife can’t walk. The footpath is damaged and is encroached at a few places,” he said.

The condition of other footpaths in the HAL Airport ward in the BBMP’s Mahadevapura zone is no better. Residents lament that they remain in disrepair despite complaints to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Palike officials, on the other hand, attributed their inability to repair the footpath to lack of funds.

“We’d have repaired them by now if only we have got the funds,” a BBMP official said. 

BBMP chief engineer Parameshwariah told DH that the government provides Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore for each ward according to the ward budget. “I’ll direct HAL ward corporator to utilize the funds to repair the footpath,” he said.