For the past one month, 86-year-old Malan Deokale, a wheelchair-bound resident of Lane 7 on Prabhat Road, has not stepped out of her house. She is not used to being confined within the house, though. For years, every morning her help would take her to Kamla Nehru Park for fresh air and socialising with people her age. That routine has been upset now.
The autorickshaw driver, who often ferried her to the market for shopping necessary items, now refuses to come. Her doctor too, who visits her if she is unwell owing to her old-age ailments, cannot visit her now.
The reason — the entire Lane 7 on Prabhat Road has been dug up for concretisation, work on which began more than a month ago. The lane houses bungalows and housing societies. The situation is such, leave aside plying of vehicles, even pedestrians can’t use it and are having to wade through heaps of mud, cement and other construction material to come out of the lane.
Daily life has become particularly challenging for senior citizens and those who are physically-challenged or are dependent on others.
For instance, Bhushan Garge’s 15-year-old son, who has been wheelchair-bound for the past five years because of a medical condition and is giving board examinations currently, has been struggling to reach the exam centre everyday. “Since vehicles can’t ply on this lane, we have parked our four-wheeler in the next lane. We have to use the gate of another society to reach that lane and then head for the exam centre. Given that road work is going on almost everywhere, we leave almost an hour early so that we are not late,” said the boy’s father, a businessman. The family lives in Prashanti Co-operative Society.
“Even my friends can’t come over and vice-versa. I feel as if I have been imprisoned,” said Deokale, who stays alone with two helps. Two of her children are based abroad.
Sujata Shende (72), another resident, complained that even the garbage collector had stopped coming to the society. Garbage was piling up and, very often, residents had to go looking for her.
“It has been going on at a very slow pace. It could have been done in phases instead of the entire stretch being dug up. At least, the authorities should have kept a small path on the side even and walkable, which residents, especially senior citizens, could have used to reach the other lane,” she said.
In Deepak Savala’s family, there are two 70-plus women. Over a month ago, one of them had gone to Mumbai to visit her daughter for a few days. However, by the time she was scheduled to return, the road had been fully dug up.
“Now, she’s been wanting to come back but we can’t bring her owing to the condition of the road. Work is going on in an unsystematic manner; there are days when we see absolutely no progress at all,” said Savala’s wife, adding that her mother-in-law, who is staying with them, hasn’t been able to go out of the house.
With inputs from Ajay Khape