BRTS project raises air pollution, traffic woes

AMRITSAR: The ambitious Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project is nowhere near completion.

BRTS project raises air pollution, traffic woes

People cover their face to avoid inhaling dust while traversing on a stretch under the ongoing BRTS project. PHOTO: RK SONI

editorial@tribune.com

PK Jaiswar/Manmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 28

The ambitious Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project is nowhere near completion. Travelling on city roads especially on a two-wheeler has become a nightmare.

Besides leading to traffic jams the ongoing construction and digging work has multiplied dust pollution in the city manifold. It poses a serious health hazard to the inhabitants of the holy city, especially those suffering from respiratory problems like asthma and chronic bronchitis. The number of patients coming to hospitals with swollen eyes and allergies is also on the rise. The dust flying on roads has also enhanced the risk of mishaps.

The worst affected areas at present are Mall Road and Amritsar-Attari Road that passes through Putlighar and Chheharta. “The people are forced to cover their faces to avoid inhaling dust. Plying of bikes, scooters have become dangerous. The agency and contractors involved in the project give a scant regard to control air pollution,” said Jaswant Nagi, a resident of the Guru Arjun Dev Nagar area.

“Yes, the cases of eye infection and allergies have increased in the recent past. Pollution in the air has increased because of various construction activities,” said Dr JS Gumbar, an eye specialist. Dr Naresh Chawla, district TB officer, pointed out that air pollution triggered fatal attacks in asthma and chronic bronchitis patients.

The air quality had reduced notably and it was hazardous to patients suffering from respiratory problems and also for a healthy person. Dust particles inhaled while breathing settled in the lungs thereby affecting its functioning. Recent studies have revealed that air pollution affected children, who could develop lung infections. It is not a hidden fact that dust from construction sites was a major source of air pollution. A number of development works are underway in the city. But all the projects had failed to meet their deadlines several times.

Ironically, World Health Organisation has ranked the holy city at the 14th place among the world most polluted cities, but it has failed to awaken the conscience of the government to take urgent steps to improve the air quality. Though the National Green Tribunal had issued guidelines to stop pollution at the construction sites, authorities concerned have failed to ensure its implementation in a true letter and spirit.

Indifference towards public safety

Amritsar: Lack of concern on the part of the agency engaged by the government for the construction work of Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) project continues to baffle people. Heavy machinery continues to work alongside the moving traffic.

The residents want that the government should instruct the agency to work preferably in nights when there is no traffic on roads. “This way, operators of these machines will not have to worry about the traffic moving along side. It will help them work more efficiently,” said a resident Balkaran Singh.

Heavy machines can be seen operating along with the traffic on Mall Road and GT Road. The residents complained that carrying out construction work without adopting proper safety measures may result in a mishap someday.

Another resident Kewal Ram said, “Instead of continuing works at different roads, it will be better if the full attention, resources and energy is focused on one stretch. The traffic from that stretch may be diverted towards other roads while the work is in progress.” He said this way the residents of the areas concerned would have to go through less trouble.

In one instance a machine was seen carrying a large sewer pipe on Mall Road, which was swinging mid air, posing a threat to lives of the people passing nearby on two and four wheelers. The residents said the administration must ensure proper safety till the work on the ongoing projects completed.

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