Nagpur: Those in the knowhow must recall that once upon a time in Nagpur, roads were exemplary for all the developing cities across the nation. Not only Nagpurians took pride in the quality of roads in 90s, people from neighbouring areas were also in the awe of superbly finished extra-widened tar roads in the city. Back then, T. Chandrashekhar was the Municipal Commissioner of Nagpur, who set such a towering milestone in developing city roads, which none of his successors have ever touched. But that has long become a past and the history never appeared to have been repeated in terms of roads in Nagpur. Cut to the present, Nagpur is forced to face the bumpy ride on burning paths, thanks to the cement road project which has resulted into the worst nightmare of the citizens, be it pedestrians or motorists. Given the harsh experience the citizens are encountering with the cement roads, it can be clearly said that the cement road project has turned out to be the biggest construction blunder in the history of Nagpur. The uneven joints at busy squares, poor implementation of project, half constructed patchy roads, and bitter ride experience clubbed with speedy wear and tear of vehicle parts, have jointly contributed to all the grittiness of the project.
Yes, all efforts to attain the smart city status are being defaced by the shoddy and malfunctioning pace of cement road projects in Nagpur. We are not saying this just by scratching the surface! A detailed survey conducted by Nagpur Today brought big thumbs down for the ongoing cement road project in the city. Hordes of commuters are going through harrowing, awful and disgusting experience, while hitting these deadly cement road patches in Nagpur.
With the temperature rising in Nagpur, the citizens are finding it hard to commute through the sizzling cement roads in the city which radiates more heat than tar roads. Experts suggest Nagpur is certainly not suitable for cement roads taking into account the year long high temperature condition here. Nagpur Today survey says that many citizens are wary of the heat condition that may prevail in the aftermath of the project. “We have begun to feel the heat of the concrete and the earth beneath has started gasping for water and air, making our city hotter than ever,” says Kunal Pathak, an IT engineer who has to take cement road route to his work on daily basis. Even though the temperature may be rising at normal pace, the pinch of heat emanating from cement roads has certainly gone bitter than ever, he added.
Trees choked, percolation jammed
Kaustav Chatterjee, Founder of Green Vigil Foundation said that the cements roads are largely affecting percolation of rain water through the ground as entire rain water gets flushed away from cement roads. With the increase in population, demand for water has also increased multifold. As a result, more borewells are being dug, and with no rain water harvesting in sight due to cement roads, ground water table has gone down alarmingly, Chatterjee told Nagpur Today. He added that cement road also emits more heat and contrary to the talks of rainwater harvesting, the government is only adding to the global warming by constructing cement roads. Chatterjee also indicated the massive harm being caused to trees in view of cement road construction. Many trees have been choked around the stems and there is no space left for the water passage. He said that roots are not getting water due to concretizing of stems from all the sides. Eventually with light storms, the trees get uprooted. “There should be proper space given around trees so that the water gets seeped through roots. Also both the sides of cement roads should be provided with space for percolation of rain water.”
Air quality worsens
Even as the drive experience on the cement roads has increasingly become frustrating for the motorists, the air quality has also taken a big hit due to construction of cement roads. Green Vigil’s Kaustav Chatterjee said that for the last one year, air quality has never been satisfactory, thanks to the massive particulate matter fused in the air due to large scale construction of cement road and metro rail project. The air quality index in Nagpur has been pm 10 9, pm 2.5 which indicates high particulate matter in the air. “As we breathe in, this high particulate matter goes into our blood and causes serious health hazards,” Chatterjee told NT.
Bumpy slopes at all squares
Zoom around at any stretch of cement road, whether completed or half-done, and get ready to face the thud as every square is badly sloped to connect the cement roads. The roads are so carelessly finished on ends that it takes a big bump to hop on to another road after crossing the squares. “No thought was given about how the motorist will deal with such a bumpy road at squares. The other day I saw a man found his car’s axle broken as he tried to speed through one of the bumpy slopes at a busy square in Ramdaspeth,” said Gaurav Shetty, a cab driver who commutes almost every day through this route. Fully constructed cement roads in most of the areas have also exposed the poor quality and shoddy construction works. Cements roads at many places have been riddled with gravels and potholes in just 3 months.
Incomplete roads turn deadly
Even though incomplete cement road works are proving to be a dangerous ride for the motorists, vehicles coming from either side have to manage with single road with big trenches made on the other. The dug out roads often result in accidents and wordy tiff between motorists as they dash into each other. Compared to the metro rail project which has commendably achieved the merit of fast paced construction, the cement road construction works are completely opposite to that and going on at snail’s pace for the past couple of years.
Nagpur Today View
With all the negative vibes building up for the so called ambitious cement road project, we can clearly say the project, though carried out for all the good, has left a bitter taste on the platter of Nagpurians. Firstly, the execution of the project was ill-managed and there was no check on either the quality or validity of the project. The environmental cause was certainly ignored while the sentiments of motorists are kept at bay. While most of the works are still left to completed, Nagpur is on the verge of another development disaster with no fresh air to breathe, depleting water table and yes an altogether bad ride experience both for motor vehicles and motorists.