Dwarka: The sub-city of Dwarka is one the most planned projects of Delhi Development Authority (DDA). However, a look at the uneven height of the footpaths and pedestrian paths there is testimonial of negligence by authorities. Most of the footpaths and pedestrians paths in the sub-city don't have a specific height. The heights are erratic and uneven in the streets, alongside master plan roads and service roads. While at some spots, the height is less than one foot, at others, it is more than two feet. This causes difficulty in accessing the footpath by senior citizens and physically challenged people.
The uneven height of footpaths leave no option for the disabled but to take help from others. An RTI activist and vice president of Dwarka Forum, who has taken up the subject with the authorities, Sanjeev says, “It is quite surprising to know that in Dwarka, which is a modern sub-city, there is no symmetry in height of the footpaths. According to the rule of Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC), the height should be maximum 15 cm. These facilities are made for the convenience of the pedestrians, not for their discomfort.”
Sanjeev says that in several meetings with DDA, the subject has been raised but it has not been taken seriously. While talking about one such meeting, Sanjeev shares, “Some time back, we met with the Chief Engineer, Dwarka. That time, DP Singh was there. He said that nothing can be done now.”
Among the worst sufferers of this negligence are the senior citizens, children and women. To access the footpath at many places, RWAs or the residents have made stairs. In front of schools, mainly in Sector 18, such stairs can be seen. A senior citizen and resident of Sector 14, RK Singh says, “In front of Kautilya Apartments and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Apartments, one can see that people have made stairs to climb upto the footpath. These footpaths are almost two feet high. When you commute on Road Number 210 and 205, you can see the height of the footpath is more than two feet and in some stretches, it is almost more than three feet. Similarly, in some spots, the footpaths are higher in height from the side of the service road and lower on the side of main road. Authority should make small stairs at some particular distances near the markets and the residential pockets top ease the access of footpath for us."
Many residents have written several letters to the authority to do the needful but nothing effective has been done. In the entire sub-city, pedestrians prefer to walk on the roads in place of taking footpaths. Gautam Kumar, a Civil Engineer says, “DDA should have involved more experts at planning and designing level for Dwarka. Urban designers with traffic planner could have helped to resolve these problems. Issues such as height of footpath, curb stone height, road median design and detailing with respect to road level could have been detailed out well. As per design they should not be that high.”
One of the officials of DDA while talking about the subject, on condition of anonymity, says, “When the sub-city was being planned, footpaths were constructed over the drains which were along the roads. So the height of the footpath depends on the height of the drains. But we never stopped anyone who makes stairs for convenience where the footpaths are high. This is a genuine problem and we all should understand it.”