Through the dark and dirty passages

Scary Subways
Last Updated 29 October 2013, 13:33 IST

Be it on the footpath or on the streets, pedestrian safety is abysmal in the chaotic, traffic-clogged Bangalore. The pedestrian subways, which should have been a ray of hope, are mostly purposeless. While most of them lack cleanliness, many are not even functional. Inevitably, everyday, pedestrians are forced to walk through these stinking passages with dirty walls and littered ways and suffering the nuisance caused by some passers-by. Metrolife takes a look at some of the prominent subways which hold a mirror to the sorrow state that they are in.  

It was after many years of delay that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) finally inaugurated the KR Market subway in March this year. In just seven months, the condition of the subway has become deplorable. With paan stains splattered across walls, the subway looks shabby.           

Meera, an employee at a courier shop on SP Road, says, “I have no other go but take this subway everyday. When it was inaugurated, I thought we finally had a solution. But our problems have only worsened. The subway is flooded when it rains and it is even difficult to find shelter here but nobody has taken the trouble of cleaning it. To our bad luck, men spit and litter it more. We complain but nobody does anything.” 

In the peak hours, from 9 am to 11 am and  5 pm to 7 pm, there is traffic police present near the subway to make sure people don’t walk on the road. Mohan M, a traffic policeman in KR Market, says, “Not even 10 per cent of the pedestrians here use the subway. Senior citizens give health reasons and avoid taking it. And adults don’t want to strain themselves. They try to save time by walking on the road. It is unfortunate that we have to be strict with people to ensure their own safety.” 

On Nrupathunga Road, patients of St Martha’s Hospital are the worst affected. The hospital has two entrances — one on KG Road and the other, in front of the RBI. Patients using the subway on Nrupathunga Road have no dearth of complaints. 

Medical superintendent Dr Praveen, says, “We are a small hospital and so, nobody hears our complaints. This subway connects the hospital with the bus stop in front of RBI. But it stinks all through the day. When we have patients around, how can we manage?” 

He adds, “There is non-stop traffic on this road and the question of patients or their family members crossing the road is ruled out. Since the bus stop is on the other end, they have to take the subway. We are also not allowed to maintain it nor does the BBMP take the responsibility. Sometimes, they just lock it up when they feel like and pedestrians have to bear the consequences. Who is answerable for all this?”
On the other hand, the subway near Basaveshwara Circle has been closed for months now. 
Raghu, a professional working at an office nearby, says, “It is one of the busiest roads in the City. It is tough to cross the road during peak hours. We don’t even know why the subway has been closed. If it is closed for maintenance purposes, work should have been in progress, but that is not the case. So, why have they closed it?”   
In Majestic, the subway connecting the bus stand to the railway station is full of woes. It is a refuge for hawkers. From T-shirts to mobile phones, all sorts of things are up for sale here. Safety is at stake, feels Meghana, who uses the subway on a daily basis. 
“The subway is too crowded after 6 pm. I have been taking this subway for a few years now and I have seen numerous cases of pick-pockets. Also, scores of drunk men take this subway. They pass lewd comments when they see a woman walking alone. So, I try my best to bring my colleagues along with me if I am taking this subway.” 

(Published 29 October 2013, 13:33 IST)

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