₹120 for Crossing Chandni Chowk: Cost Commuters bear sans pedestrian infra

Pedestrians heading towards NDA, Bhugaon, Mulshi, or walking from NDA to Kothrud and Bavdhan, have no safe crossing, endangering their lives.
Pedestrians risking their lives while crossing road at Chandni Chowk
Pedestrians risking their lives while crossing road at Chandni ChowkSakal Media Group

Pune: Despite spending crores of rupees to construct a flyover at Chandani Chowk, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has faced criticism for its incomplete work.

The flyover was inaugurated with much fanfare, but many aspects of the project remain unfinished. One glaring issue is the lack of pedestrian crossings, forcing thousands of daily commuters to risk their lives crossing the road.

Rickshaw drivers are taking advantage of the situation by charging exorbitant fares. Commuters needing to cross to the opposite side must take a long detour of 2-3 kilometers, with auto-rickshaw fares reaching up to ₹120.

Late at night, rickshaws are often unavailable, forcing pedestrians to walk the three kilometers. During an inspection on Tuesday (9th) by journalists, iron mesh installation work on the highway median was observed, with pedestrians walking alongside the mesh to cross the road.

The Chandani Chowk flyover, part of the busy Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway, sees high-speed traffic and heavy vehicles. Regular commuters to and from Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, and Mumbai are significantly affected.

Pedestrians, especially those heading towards NDA, Bhugaon, Mulshi, or walking from NDA to Kothrud and Bavdhan, have no safe crossing, endangering their lives as they navigate the busy highway.

Ten months have passed since the flyover's inauguration, yet no provisions for pedestrian safety have been made. Students, senior citizens, women, working professionals, and disabled individuals struggle to cross the road. Frustrated commuters have voiced their concerns to local authorities and demanded the immediate construction of a pedestrian crossing.

"Without a pedestrian crossing, we are forced to cross the median amidst fast-moving traffic, risking our lives. Women with small children face severe difficulties, and senior citizens have no option but to hire auto-rickshaws. A pedestrian crossing is desperately needed here," said Supriya Jadhav, a commuter.

"Plans for a pedestrian bridge (foot overbridge) are underway by the NHAI. I have raised this issue in recent meetings and will also be sending a formal letter," stated Murlidhar Mohol, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Cooperation.

Attempts to contact Sanjay Kadam, NHAI Project Director, by journalists on Tuesday (9th) were unsuccessful despite multiple calls.

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