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Removed footpaths to be back for pedestrians in Patiala

District to be ‘first’ in country to adopt right to walk policy

Removed footpaths to be back for pedestrians in Patiala

Green areas and footpaths removed from roadsides across the city to make room for vehicles are now being encroached on by vendors. Tribune Photo: Rajesh Sachar



Tribune News Service

Ravneet Singh

Patiala, May 19

Days after the state government enforced the ‘right to walk’, the administration today claimed the district to be the first in the country to adopt the policy.

The move comes despite the fact that the city lacks proper footpaths for pedestrians. The footpaths were removed from various places across the city a few years ago to make room for the parking of vehicles on the roadsides, which are now encroached by street vendors.

As per officials of the administration, the district is the first in the country to adopt the right to walk policy. It said the policy is aimed at ensuring safety and convenience of pedestrians and cyclists.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sakshi Sawhney said the state government had recognised ‘right to walk’ as an integral part of the right to a healthy life under Article 21 of the Constitution. She said, “We are dedicated to creating a district where walking and cycling are embraced as fundamental aspects of a healthy, sustainable, and vibrant lifestyle. We are initiating the policy with a footpath-cum-cycle-track around Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib,” she said.

Meanwhile, city residents said earlier the district administration had itself removed the footpaths from across the city to make room for the parking and plying of vehicles. “The district administration, PWD and Municipal Corporation had themselves removed footpaths from various roads, including the Bhupindra road, Chhoti Baradari, the ones near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib and YPS and some others in the city, a few years ago,” a city resident said.

The residents claimed there is a clutter of vehicles on the roads due to the influx of vehicles as the city lacks a proper public transport system. “The district administration failed to provide a proper city-based public transport system, but removed footpaths and green areas from the roadsides to make room for vehicles. But these places are now constantly encroached on by the vendors,” a resident said.

The DC said the administration would construct footpaths at places from where they were removed. She said as per the Chief Minister’s assurance during one of his previous visits, the state is expected to provide a city-based transport system in Patiala. “We will work out a plan to relocate street vendors as well. We will ensure departmental accountability for action on it,” she said.

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