Udaipur : The lake city has earned a new name in the past few months. ‘Gaddha city’ (city of potholes) is the term often used these days as a radically charged taunt that the roads are in a terribly sorry state. The tourist season has set in and the city has already started receiving large number of tourists from last fortnight specially due to extended weekend holidays as guests from adjoining Gujarat cities love to spend their short vacations here. But the condition of the city roads leave not only the tourists but residents fuming. From crater like potholes to carelessly strewn gravel, Udaipur has a handful of infamous roads that pose a threat to commuters.
Unfortunately, these are some of the busiest stretches in the city, with thousands of vehicles plying through them everyday. The roads at Durga Nursery, Saheliyo-ki Bari, Gulabbag, Kumharo ka Bhatta, HiranMagri, Residency road, Ayad, Thokar Choraha, Sevashram, Dhoolkot, Bohra Ganeshji, University road etc are terribly damaged. These cover almost fifty percent area of the city and more than 50 percent population commute on these streets daily.
On Monday, the potholes on one such road in HiranMagri area proved fatal for a bike rider who died after his vehicle crashed into a parcel carrying truck which had applied sudden break due to a large pothole. A car and another truck that followed the biker collided one after the other and the victim had no way to escape. Authorities have the excuse that digging work for sewer and pipe line under the smart city project is in progress and suffering is inevitable until the project completes.
If the drivers dont keep an eye out,there is every danger of slipping and falling into the numerous pits that can be seen everywhere. Number of accidents too have increased due to the bad roads specially women and school children riding two wheelers are falling victims to minor accidents daily. ” I ride almost 18 kilometers everyday from Hiranmagri sector-11 to Sukhadia university and way back home. The riding experience is really haunting and scary” says Dr Nidhi Bhatnagar, a visiting faculty at the University Law college. Similar is the experience shared by Shweta Solanki, a research scholar who rides almost 20 kilometers up and down from Sajjangarh area to University everyday to pursuit her research task.
From two wheelers to autorickshaws even buses, none of the vehicles can move past without swaying to and fro in the craters formed here and there. Not only the road’s terrible condition take a toll on vehicles, it also affects the health of the riders, says Jagdish Acharya, a nursing staff who has to travel to zinc smelting plant, some 12 kilometers from his residence in Ayad. ” This has been the condition of the road for over an year now and neither Udaipur municipal corporation or officials of the Smart City project have even tried to rectify this. There is no way one can move past these potholes without our vehicles getting damaged” says Pankaj Sharma, a senior congress leader.
Mayor ChandraSingh Kothari speaks- ” We understand the residents are facing problem due to the sewerage work going on in the various wards inside the walled city and the outer areas. Though the project would take another one and a half year to complete, but we are taking care of the roads. The rains are causing major problem in the maintenance work. The tarring work to patch the potholes would be completed within fifteen days once the rains stop”