In Focus

Thrilled by new footpath, irked by 'No Parking' signages

By Manu Shrivastava

Residents of Rambhau Salgaonkar Marg aka Kitridge Road near Sassoon Docks in Colaba have been waiting with bated breaths to view a much-awaited footpath being constructed along the road. The residents, constantly worried for the safety of their children and the elderly walking about in the area, mired with fast vehicular movement, are now relieved. It has been through the concerted efforts of local vigilantes and concerned residents that the footpath work has been undertaken by the BMC. This is slated to make the zone safer for residents.

"It would just not have been possible if not for the timely intervention of the local Corporator Makarand Narwekar," gushed Arsiwala Building resident and Sassoon Docks Seafood Suppliers Association Chairman Pramod Pawle. It has been owing to Pawle's timely and continual efforts that residents' concerns were addressed. 

THANKFUL: Pramod Pawle is all praise for Corporator Makarand Narwekar who he feels is receptive to residents' needs
"This is a one-way traffic road yet many motorists approach speeding from the opposite direction even at the turn, making it extremely unsafe for residents to cross the road even walk along the side especially for children, the elderly and those walking their pets. The risks of meeting with an accident or getting run over were very high. So, a few months ago, some of us raised the issue with Corporator Makarand Narwekar and suggested that an existing structure used by the BMC could be removed and, in place, a footpath be made for the convenience of pedestrians. He immediately approved the idea and implemented it too."

SAFE ZONE: The residents welcome the new footpath at Kitridge Road in Colaba
"Many would be petrified to even step out on this road in the absence of a footpath. They would have to walk along the road and expose themselves to fast-moving vehicles. Mr Narwekar has always been very responsive to the residents' concerns," said Mr Pawle.

New 'No Parking' Signages Appear

Yet, this has given rise to another issue that has left residents concerned. Three 'No Parking' signages have been placed along the Arsiwala Building side of Kitridge Road much to the chagrin of residents. Left suddenly with no place to park their vehicles, the residents have been having sleepless nights over the new signages put by the traffic police. 

TRAFFIC TRAP: Residents park their vehicles unwittingly oblivious of the newly-installed 'No Parking' signages at Kitridge Road
Arsiwala Building resident 57-year-old Shahana Siddiqui who also sells bread and eggs at her shop in the same building is unhappy with the newly-installed signages. She says, "Where will we park our vehicles if not near the building? We have been parking here for decades and now suddenly the police places these signages and has started fining motorists. My son has to take out the vehicle frequently as he delivers items in the area. He just cannot park his vehicle far away and physically carry the items to be delivered, till his vehicle parked about 100 metres away, in Sassoon Docks on the main S B Road, every time."

HARASSED: Shahana Siddiqui is upset over the new 'inconvenient' traffic rule
Local shop-keeper 61-year-old Zairuddin Khan has been manning his electrical items shop at the turn of Kitridge Road for more than two decades now. Today, along with son Ali Khan, he sits at his shop waiting in earnest for the next customer. He says, "I am also a service provider and have electricians coming and leaving from the shop. Where will they park their vehicles? Also, I have a couple of my own which, soon after the 'No Parking' signages were placed, were being towed away by traffic cops. Thankfully, we spotted them in time and were able to convince them but surely won't be as lucky the next time. That apart, where will my customers park their vehicles if they have to stop by at my shop? With nobody being able to park even for a bit, my business will be hit hard."

TWO UPSET: Shop-keeper Zairuddin Khan and son Ali Khan (left) feel they will be 'fined' soon for no fault of theirs
Scrap-dealer Premji Gala, who has customers dropping by throughout the day, is harassed with the new signages put by the traffic police. "The traffic cops come and fine my customers when they park their vehicles to come to my shop to sell their old wares for a few rupees. Now, who'll come here to sell their bhangar for a few rupees and pay up Rs 200 to the local police for parking in a 'No Parking' zone. It affects me directly. It's difficult to do business like this, particularly in these COVID-hit times. It has discouraged my customers to come to the shop for the fear of being fined."

AT LOSS: Scrap-dealer Premji Gala has been losing business due to the 'No Parking' signages
The locals maintain they have brought the issue of the newly installed 'No Parking' signages to the notice of Corporator Makarand Narwekar who has assured them that it would be addressed at the earliest.

(Note: Some subjects may have removed their masks only to be identified in photographs to be used with this news report. COVID-19 appropriate behaviour has been maintained at all times)

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