The Infrastructure Gap

This week on Idle Chatter, we ponder the problems of poor infrastructure

Poorly lit tunnels are a constant source of danger to bikers

Poorly lit tunnels are a constant source of danger to bikers

How often have we cursed that scooter that suddenly swerved in our path? Or when that car is parked occupying half a lane? Clearly, it’s the work of idiots. Sometimes however, it may be the result of idiotic infrastructure.

I have travelled through quite a bit of India and I have seen examples of monumental stupidity when it comes to infrastructure planning across the length and breadth of the country. And that, quite frankly, stupefies me. I mean, weren’t we the same nation that just recently conducted the cheapest Mars mission in all, of history? Then why do we fail so miserably when it comes to civic infrastructure? I wish I knew.

Is it not obvious that if two ends of a junction aren’t aligned then you’re looking at traffic jams? In Pune, where I live, there are millions of flat wide speed breakers that are supposed to be pedestrian crossings. The municipal corporation should deserve the credit for such thought, except that a fair few of them end at road dividers or are in the middle of a bend. Some are spaced at a few metres away from each other. In fact, the most well built pedestrian crossing, complete with a functioning traffic light, is placed just 50 metres before a major junction with a traffic signal. Inexplicable!

Then there is the issue of street lighting and signages. The point of a street light is completely lost if tall trees are planted between lamp posts. Signages written in minuscule fonts (check the one at the crossing of Rajghat on the Ring Road in New Delhi) or ones that are oddly positioned help no one.

Finally, there is the question of execution and maintenance. We can send our folks to Space for cheap but we can’t join two blocks of concrete without a bump. Now do we retain enough gumption to understand that if we don’t create a shoulder, a car with a punctured tyre will have to be repaired on the road with traffic flowing around it.

Anyhow, not that any of my ranting will change anything but it does feel cleansing. With all that out of my system, now I can go and enjoy my Sunday. As for the rest of you…happy ranting…era, sorry…riding!

Aninda Sardar – who has written posts on Bike India.

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