Women are scared of walking the streets of Bangalore after dark. The road stretch from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) towards Mekhri Circle has a dug-up footpath. A walk from Coffee Board Junction to Raj Bhavan is a short walk, but becomes scary after dark as there are no streetlights.
Lopa, a content editor at a city firm, says, “I was looking for an auto as the walk to Mekhri Circle is long. No auto driver agreed to take me by meter to Mekhri Circle. They asked for Rs 50 to Rs 80. I decided to walk, but as there are no lights and an uprooted footpath, it was not easy. I thought I will slip and get hit by one of the vehicles in the heavy traffic. Finally, I requested a traffic policeman at Sadashiv Nagar Police Station, to help me in getting an auto. He was not of much use.”
The city’s ecology has changed. Trees have given way to roads, ridden with potholes and strewn with construction debris on both sides. Footpaths have disappeared. Road crossings are a heart stopping affair with traffic-screeching to a sudden halt for 30 seconds and then resuming their flow where there are traffic police.
At crossroads without signals, its much simpler, says software engineer Anindita, “Look to the left and right and then, run for your life. Chances are you will survive.”
A stretch of the Bellary Road near Kodigehalli Gate has pedestrians trying desperately to walk, a heavy traffic with the middle of the road crowded with cranes, bulldozers, and construction workers as work on the expressway to the new airport is in full swing and there are no footpaths, here.
Preeti, a freelance writer in the city says, “I left my two-wheeler at home since I thought a bus could take me faster to the city. My friend gave me a lift till Kodigehalli Gate and I thought of walking till the next bust stop, but there is no place to walk here. There is no auto in sight, either.”
‘Why don't you pull up corporators?’
City police commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar says, “The police are not responsible for maintaining roads, streetlights or footpaths. Why don’t you pull up the corporators at the BBMP?”
“We are concerned about the safety of women. We have the ABHAYA vehicle that helps women in distress and we have JANASNEHI initiatives.
Our call centre staff (mostly women) are trained by Infosys, they ask for feedback after a caller has called in for help. Recently, our Hoysala picked up a woman in distress from Brigade Road and dropped her home in the presence of women staff. We have had meetings with the BBMP and given them reports on potholes, too,” Auradkar noted.