Ghy FootBridges: Why The Apathy Towards Maintenance and Cleanliness?

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Ron.

Development in the state of Assam sees no bounds as several infrastructural and institutional projects are being undertaken at various parts including hospitals, bridges, colleges, as well as roads and highways. It could be an undeniable fact that the projects which are already completed and operational currently are no less than a spectacle.

In recent times, the city of Guwahati has witnessed several new foot bridges being constructed for pedestrians to conveniently traverse across the busy city roads with ease and also enjoy a view while at it. These foot bridges are operational 24 hours and are strategically placed along GS Road as well as on the Bharalu-Adabari stretch.

Built with Swiss technology, these bridges are equipped with escalators and lifts (operational from 7 AM to 2 AM), CCTV cams at entry and exit points, state-of-the-art-design, security guards etc.

Khanapara Foot-Bridge

This one is special. The Khanapara foot-bridge is primarily built with just bamboo meant to showcase the richness and importance of Assam’s bamboo resources. Upon entering the city from Khanapara, one will see a welcome sign attached to it reading “Welcome To Guwahati”.

The whole infrastructure has an engaging look to it and is equipped with all the modern amenities including elevators, ramp approach for differently-abled persons, flooring made of granite with attractive design, escalators on both-ways, stainless steel railing, staircases, gardening on the bottom etc.

According to its contractor Lalit Kumar Jain, the bamboo used in the bridge underwent some treatment and was also laminated. If maintained properly, the life span of the bridge can extend from 20 to 30 years. It was built at an approximate cost of Rs 13 crores.

During the time of its reporting, it seemed quite dirty with dust, flowers, and leaves scattered around the bridge. Upon asking the security guard posted there, he said that cleaners were not appointed yet but would soon be. Nonetheless, this bridge could potentially serve as an important landmark in the city if maintained well.

Ganeshguri Foot-Bridge Near Kar Bhawan

The foot bridge is a significant one as it has bus stands on both sides of the road which makes it convenient for commuters. Gone are the days when one had to motion the traffic to stop for them to cross the busy Ganeshguri roads.

Equipped with all the amenities which were previously mentioned, this foot bridge was greatly needed in the area, being one of the busiest places in the whole of Guwahati.

The floral decorations from the inauguration were still present on Wednesday and looked magnificent. Some people were seen taking selfies and photographs on the bridge, some were busy gazing at the never-ending traffic of Ganeshguri. Among all the foot-bridges visited, this one is the most crowded.

This bridge was not as clean as well. According to the security guard, cleaners are yet to be appointed.

Foot-bridges at Ganeshguri-Christian Basti

Not as busy as the Ganeshguri one, these foot-bridges are located not very far from each other with one being set up next to JB’s near Apollo Hospital and the other at Christian Basti near the post office.

Both the bridges have a common design with all the amenities available including CCTV, two-way escalators, elevators etc. Notably, the one near JB’s has a wheelchair near the ramp approach for the differently-abled, which none of the other bridges have.

It is to mention that during the time of its reporting, escalators on one side on both the bridges were not working and were down for maintenance, just days after the inauguration.

Christian Basti Footbridge

On the bright side, these bridges will greatly minimize accidents as people had to stop the motion of traffic to cross the busy GS road. It was quite risky for old people as well as for people in general, but now that has changed.

While the footbridge at Christian Basti was built at a cost of Rs. 10,06,71,000, the one at Ganeshguri was constructed spending Rs. 9,88,00,000.

Bhootnath Foot-Bridge

A same design as the previous ones, this footbridge was quite deserted during the day time. It was comparatively cleaner and has all the amenities that are expected.

The floral decorations which were used during its inauguration were dumped near the railway tracks adjacent to it, giving a ‘dirty-look’ to its surroundings. Hopefully, it will be cleared in the coming days.

It is to be noted that this foot bridge is located in an area where not many commuters are seen. It however serves its purpose.

Foot-bridges Under Construction at Adabari

Two more foot bridges are currently under construction in Adabari, past the old Pandu footbridge. They would be of the same design as the other ones and are slated to be complete in the next 2-3 years.

One of them has been under construction for 3-4 months and the other, since a month.

Construction is in full swing and will have all the modern amenities.

4-lane Maligaon Over Bridge

The proposed 4-lane Maligaon over bridge, which was announced last year, is currently under construction. It is however in its initial stages with boundaries being set and construction components being brought to the site.

The over bridge will be 2.9 km in length and will cost Rs 420 crores. It will run from Maligaon to Kamakhya Gate and will have a half-kilometre extended arm on the Pandu road. 

Construction for the same is well underway and is expected to be completed in 3 years.

According to a 3D design shared by Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter, this flyover will have roadways both from the top (by flyover) and from the bottom. As the area suffers from a lot of traffic congestion, this bridge will play a pivotal role in the future in curbing the same.

3D Design

Comparison – Old Pandu Footbridge and New Footbridge

It is quite evident that the old Pandu footbridge which was built years ago and the new footbridges have a vast difference in terms of design, structure, amenities, size, area and so on.

Moreover, the old Pandu foot bridge is littered with betel nut stains all around, lifts have been non-operational for long with no maintenance etc.

Comparing the old and new however may not be wise due to the advancing technology, but, will the new foot bridges end up with the same fate as the old ones? Maintenance is crucial.

Divided Responsibilities

We as human beings have certain bad habits which can’t be ignored rather get them fixed in due course of time. To keep the city clean, maintained and attractive is a responsibility not only for the government, but for the citizens also. The latest infrastructural developments are built with the taxpayers’ money, therefore, it is also our responsibility to not litter it with gutkha stains or anything for that matter.

There have been many instances in the past where people would spit on newly built/painted road dividers and bridges, bringing a bad name to society as a whole. To become a smart city, we the people need to be smart and have a civic sense as well.

Additionally, here is a video compilation of few flaws that were detected.

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