The already perilous journey of students of the College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) from their hostel to campus due to “unregulated” traffic conditions and “lingering” flyover work has become more dangerous as the signaling system in the area has started to malfunction.
Agitated with the alleged callous and insensitive attitude of civic authorities and police towards addressing their woes, students have threatened to stage a strong protest in days to come.
While on the one hand, almost a dozen written pleas made by the college authorities to the PMC and traffic police to improve the situation is said to have fallen on deaf ears, so far, a series of accidents involving CoEP students on the nearly half-kilometre stretch has raised fears within the college administration.
Newsline has been constantly highlighting the traffic-related issues faced by CoEP in the recent past.
Addressing media persons on Monday, CoEP director Anil Sahasrabudhe threw an open challenge to concerned authorities to cross the roads in front of the college.
“Let them (authorities) get first-hand experience of what ordeal our students face while crossing roads. The students have to use at least twice the stretch from CoEP hostel to campus overcoming unregulated traffic at Sancheti Chowk and T-junction in front of college. Till date, three students have met with serious accidents causing injuries when they were crossing roads while smaller accidents have become a common sight,” he said.
Sahasrabudhe said the traffic signaling system that was in place on the concerned roads has gone for a toss, causing jitters among students and other commuters. “Before this, the traffic signals were functional and used to offer some relief for our students and other pedestrians while crossing roads. But removal of the various signals at the stretch has made the situation worse for pedestrians. We have sent eleven letters to the civic body and other authorities but all our efforts have gone in vain,” he complained.
The director suggested constructing a skywalk from the hostel to the campus for the safety of students. “The civic body of Pune has planned the desired skywalk as part of the Metro plan. It should made at the earliest,” he demanded.
Narrating their grievances about erratic traffic conditions, CoEP students said civic authorities and traffic police should act in time to avert any major accident, possibly causing the death of any among them.
“We have to suffer everyday due to unsafe road conditions for pedestrians. We students are deeply upset due to the apathy the civic officials have been showing towards resolving our issue,” Neha Kanthe, a student, said.
Deepak Kolte, student representative, cautioned that students would plan a major agitation in near future to vent out their anger against traffic chaos.
When contacted, Shrinivas Bonala, traffic planner of PMC, said joint meeting involving CoEP authorities would be held shortly to resolve the issue. “We had planned one joint meeting recently, but it got cancelled. Another meeting will be conveyed soon. The demand of constructing skywalk will be discussed during the meeting,” he told Newsline.
On the signaling system becoming non-functional, Bonala said it has been in place, but traffic police personnel prefer to carry out manual controlling during peak hours. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sarang Avhad did not return the call and text messages sent to him on the issue.