Fight for footpaths: 'footpathkon' against encroachments

Fight for footpaths: 'footpathkon' against encroachments

Move aside marathon and walkathon, Bengaluru will now witness a 'Footpathakon'. It is a  unique initiative to win back people's right to walk on footpaths.    

Tired of parked vehicles or street hawkers encroaching the  footpaths, the residents of AECS Layout in Doddanekkundi will organise a 'Footpathakon' every week.

The campaign began on November 18 with 75 to 100 participants, They  manoeuvred through the encroached footpath holding placards that read the message they were walking for 'footpath is for walking and not for parking.' "We try to walk on footpaths as much as possible during these 'Footpathakons on as much space available," said a resident of Doddanekundi and a member of Whitefield Rising, who wished to remain anonymous.

The major issues that the residents face are hawkers sprawling on the footpaths and  vehicles parked despite the parking spaces provided by apartment complexes "This problem has swelled after a number of IT companies cropped up in the proximity leading to a large number of multi-storied apartments and commercial spaces. This has caused inconvenience to the pedestrians," the resident explained.

After several complaints to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, some of the encroachments were cleared before the awareness campaign. However, they are back in place and have occupied the footpath after the first campaign. "We are not going to end the campaign until they remove these encroachments and make the footpath pedestrian-friendly once and for all," she said.

However, the area Corporator- Shwetha Vijaykumar's husband, Vijay Kumar, denied the resident's allegations that street hawkers occupied the footpaths anymore. "We have cleared all the encroachments and sometimes there are one or two random hawkers. People complain about these one or two encroachers," he said. He added that the area corporator had written a letter to the Joint Commissioner of the area regarding the issue but no response or action  was taken.

The next 'Footpathakon' is scheduled for coming Sunday, November 26 in the evening with at least 100 participants expected to support the cause.  

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