With hawkers, eateries and the GHMC building encroaching, footpaths in Abids are doing the vanishing act. Pedestrians in the meantime negotiate busy traffic
Even as the GHMC is spending hundreds of crores on the beautification of several stretches as part of preparations for the prestigious CBD COP-11, the footpaths and their use in Abids remain elusive. For the thousands of shoppers in the area, there is always the risk of getting knocked down by a speeding vehicle.
Sometimes referred to as the heart of the City, Abids was once known for its pedestrian friendly roads with wide footpaths. While a few footpaths between Chermas and the GPO are still used, the stretch between GPO and Koti, towards Moazzam Jahi Market and towards Nampally from GPO have been completely encroached. “Even if we try to walk on the footpath at several places we have to climb down and up, walking past some eatery or shop that has encroached this place,” laments P Ranjeeth Kumar, a shopper.
Matters made worse
Ironically, one of the stretched of footpaths that has been encroached upon is right in front of the municipality building. The space has been taken up by a few eateries and business, while the authority has only worked in their favour by barricading the footpath. A religious structure and a transformer in the vicinity have ensured that the public cannot access the footpath at all.
“The authorities are so busy demolishing buildings that do not abide by regulations. But what about the GHMC building which not only juts out onto the road but also eats up footpath space?” questions Somasekhar Reddy, a commuter.
Somasekhar’s relative’s building was demolished by the civic authority a year ago. The drive was initiated by GHMC commissioner MT Krishna Babu after he took charge. While it has drawn both applause and flak from various quarters, the drive opened several loopholes in the administration while providing building permissions. pedestrians at risk
Koti however, is worse still. With barely no footpath in the area thanks to hawkers and vendors, pedestrians are forced to walk on the road after crossing Big Bazaar. Since the road is a one way, vehicles travel at high speeds, making it risky for pedestrians. “It is better if we wear bright colours while walking on this stretch, as buses and other motor vehicles travel at high speeds,” points out, Shafeeq Hussain, a cloth merchant.
The footpaths connecting GPO and Nampally are very narrow. When contacted, the Gunfoundary corporator, M Madhu said that although the footpath exists, they are not used by the public. The authority that should have educated people is not active. “The issue of encroachment of footpath rests with the GHMC authority that should enforce measures and should cope with the hawkers there. Some strong initiative is required,” said Madhu.