Take a Walk.......

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pune - 1

The thing that struck me most about Pune on my first visit was the roads or rather lack of them. I can go a step ahead and say, There are no roads in Pune city. To elaborate more on that, majority of the roads in the city don't fit to be there even in a village let alone a city which aspires to the hub of manufacturing and technology. A 15-18 kilometer stretch from Kothrud to the Pune station can take anything between 1-2 hours. The reason being the roads that are not good enough for bullock cart to trudge along support thousands of vehicles and its not like that the problem is only at some part of the day, say something like a peak hour of the day. It's the same throughout the day, whether it is early morning or evening, you would be choked to death especially if you manage to be on a two wheeler, the most preferred mode of transport of Puneites.

There are some good roads but they can be counted on finger tips, namely the Solapur road and a stretch of Nagar road and couple of other odd names. But they are basically part of National Highways passing from the outskirts of the city.

The second thing that struck me the most was the traffic sense of the people out here. As per the best of my information Puneites on average are more educated/literate then people from other Indian cities or at least they proudly claim that. May be this literacy is the reason that they would score somewhere between 0% to 5% for the their traffic sense. The only traffic rules that the Puneites follow is none, So although there is timer at a signal people keep zooming ahead although signal has long gone read and stating the number of second it would remain red. You can take a left,right or a U-turn at your will or if someone is walking ahead of your vehicle its your duty to take the vehicle around him rather then he moving aside or else enjoy honking.

I would narrate a recent event that happened around a month back. I was on my way to passport office at Senapati Bapat road and being a traffic rule abiding Mumbaite stopped at a signal although there wasn't much traffic. Before I could realize there were people passing by cursing me, because I stopped at a red signal blocking their way.

I think I've said enough about the road and traffic scene in Pune, but there's a little more on it. There was a marked improvement in the condition of roads in certain parts of the city after the PMC received a lot of flak from the people and open criticism by the industry. But come rains and back to square one, the situation has again worsened so much that certain roads are just not motorable.

One last comment which recently a friend made on Pune drivers/riders(especially for one's riding bikes). The elders in pune drive as if the road is their's and they can move as slow as possible, anyways who's in hurry. The younger generation drives as if the road is theirs and they can move as fast as they wish, who cares if someone gets knocked off, to hell with them.