Parents run out of patience over Esteem Mall junction skywalk

Flood Sindhi College with queries; pedestrian safety in peril as govt dilly-dallies

Parents run out of patience over Esteem Mall junction skywalk

 With two accidents in a month, the Esteem Mall junction on Ballari Road has become a major cause for worry for parents who want to admit their wards to the Sindhi College nearby.

But the college management says it has no idea about what happened to the proposed skywalk at the notorious spot.

The college, with 1,700 students, has been getting numerous enquiries from worried parents following the accident on February 26 when a tanker had run amok, killing two people, including a girl student of the institution. Then as recently as Wednesday, a lorry carrying sand rammed three cars, an auto-rickshaw and three motorcycles, injuring two people.

According to the college management and staff, about 80 per cent of the students rely on public transport. Understandly, parents are worried about pedestrian safety. As students and local residents took to the street a day after the February 26 accident, the government promised to build a skywalk at the spot.

The authorities concerned did swing into action, visiting the spot and carrying out inspections. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) even demolished the compound wall of the mall on March 7 to facilitate construction of the skywalk. But that was the end of it. Meanwhile, the Esteem Mall moved the High Court over the demolition of its compound wall.

“Every day, we have 20-30 walk-ins from parents for admission of their children. The first thing they ask us is what has the government done to avoid accidents at the Esteem Mall junction and what information we have about that,” Pallavi Vinod, the college principal, said. “But we have no clue as the authorities concerned haven’t informed us about the progress of the skywalk project.”

The last thing the management heard from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was that the project was awaiting approval from the NHAI. “The NHAI and the BBMP should have updated us on the progress they have made. That way, we can at least keep the parents informed,” the principal said.

Pedestrians panic

And after Wednesday’s accident, pedestrians are more panicked, notwithstanding the increase in the duration of the pedestrian crossing signal from 30 seconds to one minute, according to shopkeepers near the mall. “Considering the safety of students, a skywalk should be built here at the earliest,” said Kavitha, a shopkeeper.

Srinivas Reddy, BBMP Executive Engineer, Byatarayanapura division, says the skywalk’s final design has been prepared by Columbia Asia Hospital, which is located nearby. The hospital will fund the project. “Design of the skywalk, floating of tenders among other things will take time. But we can assure that the project will start in a few days,” he said. A meeting is scheduled for Friday to discuss the project nitty-gritty, he added.

While sources insist the Esteem Mall’s decision to move court may stall the project, the Project Director of NHAI (Bangalore unit), Surendra Kumar, claimed it was a separate issue. “That will not affect the skywalk construction in any way,” he maintained.

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