BENGALURU: Miffed by two-wheeler riders parking their vehicles on pavements, blocking way for pedestrians, and the city police doing practically nothing about it, a senior citizen has decided to take matters into his own hands. Padmanabha Arkalgud, an 81-year-old resident of Yelahanka New Town has started an initiative educating people do not park vehicles on pavements.
Padmanabha frequents parts of Yelahanka, JP Nagar and surrounding areas leaving cards with a message on vehicles that block pedestrian paths. He carries a pack of cards the size of a business card with a message requesting violators change their habits. Padmanabha also leaves behind his number on the card for people to call back.
It all began in 2016 when he visited the Indian Overseas Bank branch in Yelahanka. He was forced to walk on the road as there were two-wheelers parked on the pavement. Ever since, he decided to do his bit to resolve the problem. “The first time, I left a hand-written message on a sheet of paper slamming the person. Later, I realised that it might have a negative impact and hence decided to tone it down. So far, I have put up cards on 1,000 vehicles, including cars, and have I 2,000 more with me,” he said. He carries it to all places that he visits and posts them on vehicles that have been illegally parked on pavements.
Since his cards also have his contact number, this senior citizen has been receiving apologies and also criticism at times. “I have some people calling me and genuinely apologising for the inconvenience caused. I feel happy about it. There are also a few others who call and ask me bluntly ‘Are you jobless’?” said Padmanabha.
The JP Nagar police had also reached out to him in the past applauding his initiative. “They lauded me and said that with their department being short-staffed, such efforts from citizens help,” he added. Padmanabha is hopeful that his initiative will grow into a full-fledged campaign. “I want more youngsters to take this up,” he said.
Padmanabha recollected that when he once went to pay his bills at a mobile service provider’s store, the staff had parked their bikes on pavements. Even on repeated requests when they did not budge, he wrote to their corporate office and had it cleared.
What does the card say?
“Fellow Indians, Greetings. Perhaps you are not aware of the problems faced by many people by the way you have parked your vehicle. If you would kindly change this habit henceforth, that would be your valuable contribution to India. Please give it a thought!”