#FreeOurFootpaths campaign highlights sorry state of footpaths in Mumbai

Updated: Feb 10, 2020, 18:19 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

#FreeOurFootpaths was initiated to highlight the terrible state of the footpaths in Mumbai to the officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)

A screengrab of the video shared by mid-day on Twitter
A screengrab of the video shared by mid-day on Twitter

Footpaths were made for easy movement for pedestrians. With Mumbaikars having through multiple hindrances on their way to their destinations, illegal encroachments on footpaths outside schools, colleges, railway stations and the crowd it attracts are one of them that makes moving from one place to a Herculean task.

As per statistics in 2016, 51 per cent of commuters' daily trips are on foot in Mumbai. As they walk on open roads, it makes them open to dangers of being victims of road accidents. As per a study conducted by Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) in collaboration with the Mumbai Traffic Police, 51 percent of road accident victims are pedestrians. Thus the Mumbai North Central District Forum (MNCDF) in association with mid-day.com joined hands with Roads of Mumbai for a campaign urging the BMC to take necessary actions on illegal encroachments and free the footpaths for the pedestrians.

#FreeOurFootpaths was initiated to highlight the terrible state of the footpaths in Mumbai to the officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). And in order to highlight the issue, 10 videos submitted by Mumbaikars showing the deplorable conditions of the footpaths of their areas were selected to bring to the BMC’s notice. Most of the videos showed the encroachment by illegal hawkers, that forced pedestrians to walk on the roads. Other than illegal hawkers, the videos also highlighted the illegal hoarding on footpaths, vehicles parked on them and their bad conditions.

Considering that it became risky for senior citizens, pregnant woman and differently-abled citizens to walk, BMC did attend the escalations in few cases. But their actions to remove the hawkers permanently found to be weak as they made a comeback at the same spot the very next day, making life miserable for all the pedestrians.

The nexus BMC officials and the police have with the hawkers boosts their confidence to carry out their business. Thus, the issue of illegal hawking menace should be addressed for the civic officials to take stricter measures on the hawkers. The government must be pressurised to  implement stringer laws to make footpaths safer for pedestrians.  

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