One of the oldest residential areas of Bengaluru — Malleswaram — has some of the most notorious footpaths in the city. And in some places, not even that. In fact, as recently as Friday, Malleswaram resident Indira Reddy suffered injuries on both her legs when she tripped over an uneven footpath slab near 18th Cross. In a video posted on Facebook by Malleswaram Social, Reddy states, “While walking home, I walked through 18th Cross and not Margosa Road, because I know that the condition of the footpath is very bad on the latter.”
Indira states that the area was dark as the streetlights were switched off at the time — around 10 pm. She suffered injuries to her left knee and her right ankle, which is now bandaged. She suffered a minor fracture in her right foot, which the doctor said would take at least six weeks to heal. Indira has squarely blamed the state of footpaths in Malleswaram for her fall.
On Sunday morning, residents of Malleswaram held an ‘Elders Walk’ in the area, under the #FootpathBeku campaign, to highlight the bad condition of footpaths here. A group of citizens walked from Varun Motors on 15th Cross to Canara Union on 8th Main, and apprised Manjunath Raju, a councillor from Malleswaram’s Ward 45, of the issues.
According to resident Raghavendra Pai, who was part of the walk, the councillor agreed that work was needed on the footpaths. “He said the footpath could be initially constructed on any one road, and all other footpaths in the area could be built along the same model,” Pai said.
It may be noted that a few years ago, Malleswaram MLA CN Ashwathnarayana had taken the initiative to spruce up a part of 9th Cross as a model road, with broad, safe and walkable footpaths. But that was never replicated in other areas; in fact, even the model road lay neglected soon, and now, shrubs from neighbouring properties overhang the footpath, threatening to injure pedestrians. Besides, encroachments on the footpath remain a big issue.
Residents have been pressing for improvement of footpaths for a long time now. Last month, members of the resident welfare association Malleswaram Social had produced a satirical video which showed two women performing the classical dance form of Bharatnatyam on footpaths in Malleswaram.A post on Facebook by an octogenarian resident, Venugopal Basrur, who took part in the walk, stated, “We should now follow up with sustained efforts and keep up the pressure for improving footpaths and other civic amenities.”