5th September 2017
Where are our footpaths? – a crusade by Swarna Bharat Party member Dr B.R. Sant
Prof. B.R. Sant is a retired India scientist who lives in Hyderabad.
He is a sprightly 85 years old and has been running a crusade against the loss of footpaths across India. He recently joined Swarna Bharat Party, as well.
A recent newspaper article covered his work (the article mistakenly calls him Pant, instead of Sant): 85-year-old crusader of footpaths.
He has been able to persuade the Urban Development Ministry to write to all State governments across India to address this issue. (As expected, I’m sure the States have done nothing. The Urban Development letter is No. N-11025/9/2016-LSG(Part1) dated 21 November 2016.)
Footpaths are representative of India’s total loss of basic governance. There are no footpaths. These are either completely dilapidated or (where they are still visible) encroached by house owners, shops or street vendors.
Because there is no maintenance of these footpaths, and no penalty imposed for such encroachment.
In comparison, footpaths in Victoria are (mostly) maintained by local councils. There are specific policies for such footpaths, for instance this one (download PDF). The policy specifies all kinds of uses, and also that a fee is charged for any commercial use.
Ultimately, India’s footpaths merely reflect the reality of socialist India’s unaccountable governance system. Unless the CEO of a municipality can be fired (not just transferred, as with Indian unaccountable tenured bureaucratic system), there is NO HOPE for legitimate footpaths in India.
And as a result of India’s socialist model, I’m sure THOUSANDS of people are killed each year in road accidents are they are forced to walk on roads.
Nevertheless, Prof. Sant has raised an important point – and I hope the Hyderabad SBP team can take this forward in some way.