In Focus

Paving The Way To Safety For Colaba's Seniors

By Manu Shrivastava

"It's so beautiful and clean now. Now, you can actually sit down on the pavement without the fear of dirtying your clothes too," says a Colaba resident. "After years of facing issues with paver blocks either chipping off, leaving gaping cracks and posing risks to unassuming pedestrians, now the concrete pavements, designed to perfection, are a welcome change."

Across Colaba, within months of 'regular road repairs', some newly done-up footpaths were dug again leaving some residents outraged at the repairs that looked like they would never end. "I had to make repeated reminders for the pavement repairs works," says Daulat Shirin CHS resident and retired Human Resources professional Margaret D'Souza, worried sick for the elderly and senior citizens who would find it impossible to walk across dug-up zones without falling or hurting themselves. 

CONTENT: Retired HR professional Margaret D'Souza is happy with the paver blocks making an exit
"The paver blocks would keep cracking or start to come off, owing to one loosely-fitted one, creating a mess for the entire footpath that would be rendered useless," she recalled. "Now, the pavements, once concretised, are a blessing especially for senior citizens like myself who can walk without fear," adds the Colaba Post Office resident who, being a nature enthusiast, prefers to travel for miles by foot. Margaret, like most others, is happy that the pavement adjoining her building too is concretised and poses little risk to residents and walkers.

For shoppers visiting Colaba Market aka Lala Nigam Road, dodging traffic and other shoppers stopping by vegetable sellers, has perennially been an ordeal. Passersby would avoid stray patches of pavered pavements owing to the risk of tripping on loosely-fitted or broken paver blocks or huge rat-holes. Now, things are different though. "The newly-constructed concrete pavements are so good that the problem of pavers coming off and rats digging holes in exposed footpaths are things of the past," says a visually-relieved Metro Service Centre's proprietor Kishor Dewasi. 

"It was impossible getting rid of the rats earlier," he recalls. "The menace had made life miserable for shopkeepers. I have had to install rat-traps, place rat-poison at strategic locations on a daily basis even pay for Pest Control just because of the paver footpath that only created problems for us. Now, it has been a while since the pavements have been concretised and they've stood the test of time and look like they've worked for the shopkeepers. The rats too have gone, for now.

RELIEVED: Shopkeeper Kishor Dewasi has finally found a solution to the rat problem 
"There had been umpteen complaints from Colaba's residents, mostly seniors who would trip over the paver blocks and hurt themselves while using the footpaths," says Ward No 227 Corporator Makarand Narwekar. "It was just so necessary to replace the paver blocks with concrete pavements, coated with a water-proofing agent, an engraved design and a polished finish for effect," he adds. "For Colaba's residents, mostly senior owing to the very nature of their generational association with this zone, safety comes first," says the Colaba-born corporator. 

"We've grown up here and almost everyone known to me including their families faced the risk of falling or tripping over the paver blocks. It was a necessity to make the change in Colaba and, for everyone's good," he adds.

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