9 Crore state-of-the-art Rajaji Park/Underpass/Clock Tower near Town Hall on the brink of failure! Only a few commuters/passengers are using the underpass from the railway station. Unless and until, MSCL or MCC deputes someone to instruct/educate passengers/people to use underpasses, risking their lives to cross the busy road.
Mangalore: The pedestrian underpass with a park under construction near the city’s clock tower for more than two years has finally been completed and inaugurated on Gandhi Jayanti, Sunday 2 October 2022, for public convenience. 10m wide underpass is ready for use as per previous DPR to cross Nehru Maidan Road. The second phase of extending the length of the underpass to allow pedestrians to cross the Rao and the Rao Circle-Clock Tower stretch road has also been completed.
Sounds good – however, since its launch on October 2 till today, hardly anyone is using Underpass except for people and students who are aware of Underpass. The team was near the Mangalorean Town Hall/Mini Vidhan Soudh area to observe how many commuters used the underpass to reach the other side—surprisingly, within an hour, only four people used the underpass, while the rest of the commuters/visitors were seen crossing at risk amid heavy traffic in the city. So what’s the point of having an expensive underpass, when only 2% of the public uses it? It seems to be teetering on the edge of failure!
Good to know that key features of the underpass include multiple entry or exit points on either side of the road, adding stairs and ramps for the physically challenged, renovating Gandhi Park into a plaza, creating commercial potential by dedicating spaces. Kiosks within the plaza, and space for commercial advertisements and murals depicting the city’s heritage along the walls of the underpasses. With the completion of the first phase of the underpass to cross Nehru Maidan Road near Mini Vidhan Soudh, Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL) started the second phase. In the second phase, the underpass was extended to allow pedestrians to cross the Rao and Rao Circle-Clock Tower Road stretch. Pedestrians entering the underpass from the Mini Vidhan Soudh entry point can now cross two roads. The underpass has been completed for more than two years, but the public has been criticizing the slow pace of the project. Also, the lockdown during the Covid and monsoon season has delayed the work.
This underground pedestrian crossing was originally built to accommodate the thousands of commuters coming to the city from the railway station. Earlier, crossing the road at this point was really risky, especially for women, children and senior citizens. However, now that a new underpass has been constructed, many commuters coming from Mangalore Central Railway Station are seen crossing the busy road unaware of the new underpass. The pictures in this report will support this sentence. Prior to this project, demands to build a skywalk or an underground pedestrian crossing had been planned for decades. Later, during the Congress regime, the Skywalk project was developed and the foundation stone was laid by the then in-charge minister of the district, Ramanath Rai. However, the project was not implemented due to huge cost.
Only four people used the underpass between 7:30 and 8:30 am
Amongst a bunch of criticized projects, where workers and citizens raised their voice for the stupidity of concerned officials of Mangaluru Smart City Limited and Mangaluru City Corporation, hand in hand with our MP and MLA, its ongoing project. The underpass near the town hall was said to be a mere waste of money. However, neither MCC nor MSCL bothered, as the money used by them was the hard-earned money of tax payers and not the officials concerned. Many predicted that the underpass once completed would be a waste of money and now that it is open, it could become a haven for alcoholics, drug dealers and other illegal activities, if there is no proper security or the lights go out. out of order
Security personnel – working hard or working hard?
Earlier, the current issue of the underpass was raised by a bunch of social activists, including former president of Dilraj Alva-Dakshina Kannada District Bus Owners’ Association who took to his Facebook to question the authorities whether Rs 9 crore needed to be spent on it. Construction of a pedestrian underpass. In his Facebook post, Dilraj Alva highlighted the futility of constructing pedestrian underpasses. He said, “Is there an example of a pedestrian underpass that is useful? The answer is no because 99% of them are useless. And this underpass is a perfect example, which will soon be out of use. Dilraj while talking to Team Mangalorean added, “It is worth noting. Most of the pedestrian underpasses are often used for illegal and unethical activities. This underpass near Mangaluru Central Station is meant to help commuters cross the busy road and I am sure, after the inauguration, the structure will become a safe haven for unethical activities, citing mosquito breeding grounds. rather than, which is already happening”.
Dilraj added, “On the one hand new building for DC office is being constructed at Padil on the outskirts of the city, where a bunch of trees have been cut down, on the other hand the main bus stand is also being shifted. The city, thus creates nothing but more trouble. This is expected to reduce traffic, why 9 crores were spent on this underpass, which would be a useless and dumb project instead of feeding the homeless and needy people.
And now despite using this underpass, very few are using this underpass, because they are used to sidewalks and roads. Unless and until MSCL deputes someone to instruct/educate passengers/people to use the underpass, people will be seen crossing busy roads risking their lives. And once it gets dark, the underpass will definitely become a red light zone, benefiting transgender and regular women alike. Oh well, it’s managed by our Smart City Not So Officials!