By Megan D'Souza
May 24: I have a bone to pick. One of my professors offhandedly said, “We Mangalureans never complain. You could block all the roads in the city and we would find that one route that isn’t and continue on our merry way. We don’t like to hassle anyone”. This got me thinking. Why do we never complain? So I decided to ruffle a few feathers and air my grievances. So circling back, I have a bone to pick.
I live adjacent to the Kadri kambla road and I would describe the mess the road is as a classic case of they came, they saw and they destroyed. They began with a small stretch of road, it was for gas lines they said. They barely reopened the road before they were digging again, this time it was for wifi lines. Now lo behold it is for water lines. IT NEVER STOPS. The road is ravaged and lies in tatters. I can’t remember the last time I saw unblemished roads.The concerned authorities closed off the road when it pleased them without so much as a hint of warning. The authorities seem to be entirely unconcerned about the plight of the citizens who live close to these roads that they block. The coup de grace is they have blocked the Kadri temple road as well. How is a person supposed to get home? I hardly see the logic in blocking multiple routes leading to the same destination.
I wish this massacre was confined to just a portion of the city but unfortunately my drive to college in the morning through the St Theresa road is a journey of tribulations and trial. I swerve, I curse, I pray and I plead and I apologise to my poor car. The multiple road closures have made traffic simply unbearable. I dread having to go anywhere. The main roads have crawling traffic, the internal roads are bumpy and blocked, the alternate roads? Well they are blocked as well. I understand the digging was in a bid to make our roads worthy of the title of smart city roads. But the question of the hour is what about the mess you leave behind? How long is this show going to go on?
This seems to be the recurring theme all around the city. You could take any road as an example and the odds are that they would have had it blocked at some point or the other in the past year. Be it lighthouse hill road or the road leading from Jyothi to bunts hostel, it could be near the clocktower or near state bank . In a nutshell our city has descended into pure chaos and we are simply standing by and watching the train wreck. The soon approaching monsoons will put a significant dent in the road works. I can picture the sheer horror as the water will stagnate, then overflow the sides of the road and create an eyesore. One thing is for certain the mosquitoes are going to have a field day with the breeding spots this situation will create.
The hazard of the situation isn’t restricted only to drivers but rather also involves the beleaguered pedestrians. The lack of footpaths in Mangalore has been a long standing concern and the subsequent nuisance created by ditches in the middle of the roads has made even the simple act of crossing the street a task fraught with peril. Walking by the sides is akin to game of Mario kart. One misstep and you either have a honk greeting you or may be the victim of an accident.
Im in no position to offer advice on how to build or beautify the city but as a concerned citizen who thinks that the roads have begun to look like a monkey took a wrench and had a picnic I sincerely hope that the concerned authorities take the necessary steps to alleviate the mess that they have created. As a customary, I am tacking on a no offence clause to this article as it is not a personal dig at anyone but simply a message to drive a change in the city.