Has this underpass made life easy?

Locality Check

It has been two weeks since the long awaited Sarita Vihar underpass was inaugurated. But has this much-awaited infrastructure been actually beneficial?

On January 24, there were at least 200-odd people at Okhla Phase II, which is the other end of the pass. Rushing to the Yamuna in trucks for the immersion of goddess Saraswati idol, the men were singing Bollywood songs, in praise of the goddess at the top of their voices and eve teasing women who were passing by.

Okhla Phase II is a hub of manufacturing companies and the place is filled with factory workers and labourers who are hardly seen outside the buildings. This gives the place a desolate and unfriendly look. The autorickshaw driver with Metrolife team suggested the reporters leave, “Ma’am this is not a safe area, don’t click photos these people will gather around.”

A woman in such a place would naturally be nervous, but so was the autorickshaw driver, a man. When Metrolife asked the driver why he felt this place was unsafe, he said, “It is not safe for women; there are only buildings, no place to visit as such. It is because of the
underpass that you see so many people.”

The Sarita Vihar to Okhla Phase II underpass has not only connected the two places, but also brought Noida just 15 minutes away from Delhi. There will be further relaxation on transport of goods, as for trucks, this route is a feasible and good option. But auto drivers have complained that the road towards Govindpuri and Tughlakabad is frequently jammed.
 Sachin, auto driver, says, “The U-turn from Sarita Vihar is very sharp. Only one car can take a U-turn at a time.

This increases the possibility of accidents.”But websites like Commonfloor.com,Distancebetween.com, Yellowpages and Wikimapia have already listed this pass as the best way to reach Noida from Delhi.

It took six years for the underpass to come into being and there are still some problems to be sorted out. It is six lane and the signboards are still not placed. Traffic lights and security is a must here if the authorities want more traffic to use the underpass and facilitate more people towards this area, which was earlier only for workers in the factories.

Rinki Verma, who travels frequently to and fro in the area says, “This underpass has reduced the time and stress of travelling immensely. But after eight, I wouldn’t want to land up in Okhla. The area should be well-lit now because of the underpass.”

Behind Verma are the trucks filled with raucous men, singing songs and shouting pick up lines. “A woman would not want to be here,” she shudders and says.

This is the story of one side of the underpass, what the people on other-side feel is another story.

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