mid-day editorial: Don't let citizens take the fall
Commuters had to wait for six years for the Mrinal Gore flyover, but now that it is open, it is posing a risk to lives with manholes left wide open on the 2-km stretch.
A report in this paper yesterday pointed out how the Goregaon flyover that was inaugurated just last month by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, but is now riddled with open manholes endangering lives of motorists and pedestrians.
Pictures accompanying the report show at least five manholes whose lids have gone missing. The pictures show the manholes are big enough to pose a real hazard for vehicles, especially two-wheelers. They were finally covered following this paper’s report, but the larger issue still remains.
Open manholes pose a perennial problem in this city; in several sports, the covers are stolen or broken by vandals. Sometimes, the cover is old and rusted, so stepping on it can be precarious. A few months ago, a lady lost her life after a manhole cover gave way. The problem is particularly acute in this season, when manholes are hidden by puddles. The authorities use markers or flags to warn citizens of this danger, but in some areas, even these red flags are missing.
The authorities claim that the covers were stolen from the flyover, and this may very well be true. Yet, we need to come up with a theft-proof cover that cannot be tampered with. Surely, there must be some material or technique that can be used to make it impossible for crooks to filch the manhole lids.
Meanwhile, ensure enough lighting near manholes, covered or uncovered. Keep ‘manhole ahead’ signs clearly marked and visible, instead of limp red flags on sticks, which are sometimes difficult to spot altogether.
These are a few measures that will temporarily alleviate any problems, but the final solution will be when every cover is in place, and impossible for thieves to remove.