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The tale of footbridges in Guwahati!

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  6 Sep 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Sept 5: Guwahati has some installations that have hit the target but missed the objectives. Footbridges in the city are some among them.

A footbridge is a bridge designed for pedestrians, and in some cases bicyclists, animal traffic, and horse riders, instead of vehicular traffic. In a metropolitan city like Guwahati, footbridges are necessitated for easing out traffic congestion, avoiding accidents at some vulnerable traffic points and the like. However, the few footbridges Guwahati has do not serve any such purposes. They rather serve the purposes of others who are nowhere seen among the target beneficiaries by the city planners. Thus it seems that by erecting a few footbridges in Guwahati the administration has hit the target set by it but missed the objectives, the very purposes for such installations.

The footbridge erected near Shukreshwar Temple across MG Road can be taken as an instance. The very spot of the road is vulnerable for accidents as devotees keep thronging the Temple in the riverside from both sides of the road. Moreover, this is one of the points where students from the schools located in the vicinity cross the road to catch buses. Maybe, by taking the risks involved the administration opted to erect a footbridge there. The moot point, however, is: does the footbridge serve the very purposes for which it has been erected?

An observation by The Sentinel on the utility of the footbridge and many of its ilk erected elsewhere in the city has found that such footbridges have few takers from the target users. School students seldom use such footbridges, nor do adults use them.

Why do they shy away from using such footbridges? The reasons are many. What is glaringly visible to the public and the administration as well is ‘such footbridges, including the one near Shukreshwar Temple, are full of filths, including human excreta. Such footbridges also serve as homes for a number of roofless people staying on roads in the city. Since people generally shy away from using the footbridges, they are being used by miscreants and binge drinkers at night. Liquor bottles, broken or otherwise, also add to the filths that litter such footbridges’.

The case with the footbridge at Maligaon is something different. Each of its two ends is almost blocked – while one end is blocked by vehicles seized by Jalukbari police station and other vehicles being parked there by the public, the other end of the bridge is almost blocked by a shoe vendor.

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