HYD Metro barricades turn nightmare for pedestrians

Hyderabad: It’s been touted as a blessing for the future, but the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) project is fast turning into a nightmare for citizens who are being forced to walk long distances in the scorching heat to cross the road, thanks to long stretches of barricades. The lack of signage and traffic guards is also leading to chaos and accidents. In some places, commuters are forced to help others, especially children, cross the dug-up roads.

“I am forced to walk at least half a kilometre in the heat everyday due to these barricades,” said 45-year-old Sabita M, who goes to Vivekananda colony in Kukatpally for work. “The bus stop is opposite to my workplace and I have no choice but to walk the entire length of the barricaded area to cross to the other side. This is such a big project but it’s a pity they did not think about pedestrians,” the woman, barely able to walk, said.

A closer survey of the Kukatpally-Sanathnagar stretch, which has long barricades covering one side of the street, makes it clear that it is impossible for pedestrians to cross the road. One finds gaps in the barricade only after travelling for around 1 kilometre. With the area having several educations and commercial institutions, a large number of pedestrians use the road. Locals said they have witnessed some people fainting due to the exertion in the extreme heat.

Meanwhile, on the Dilsukhnagar stretch, minor and major accidents have become a mundane affair due to lack of signboards and traffic alerts near the metro project. “I witnessed a gory accident in which a motorist died near the Venkatadri theatre,” said PVN Raju, an electrical engineer, who regularly commutes in the area. “The biker was trying to overtake a car thinking there was a u-turn ahead but got fatally hit from behind. More safety measures need to be adopted here,” he added.

Another techie from the area, Sudheendra Kularni, said there are sudden gaps in the metro barricades for people to take u-turns. “This can be extremely risky as many people speeding through the road fail to realize the presence of these u-turns,” he said.

However, the most chaotic traffic is witnessed on the Nagole-Mettuguda stretch where the metro rail work is in full swing. It takes at least half-an-hour to cover a distance of half kilometre in the peak hours. “It is so frustrating to see that nobody is bothered to manage the traffic on this route,” said Sulakshani Rao, a resident of Malkajgiri. “The GHMC is not bothered to make the condition of the road better. The traffic police depute only a couple of personnel at major junctions and the metro rail authorities act as if they are only concerned with the construction,” the 37-year-old executive said.

Surprisingly, the traffic marshals, trained to specifically man and ease the traffic, are nowhere to be found in most of these places. Presently, there are only 60 such marshals in the entire city.

When quizzed on these issues, the HMR authorities said they are being addressed. “We will induct more marshals in the coming days and make sure they assist the traffic police. This will help in clearing traffic to some extent,” said NVS Reddy, managing director, Hyderabad Metro Rail. “We are also looking into the complaints we received from pedestrians and motorists about the long stretches of barricades. The problem is that heavy machinery is involved and we cannot have gaps at frequent intervals,” he added.