“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and at 19 when I cleared my SSC, I thought that I could become whatever I wanted — but I was wrong. My parents forced me into getting married to a man who lives in a nearby village. I accepted their decision, moved away and tried my best to become a home maker. A few months into our marriage I was pregnant and at that age I was scared, but little did I know that I would have a lot more to fear. My husband, brought home another young woman, casually and began living with her without even giving me an explaination. I can’t describe those feelings into words. There’s no worse pain than emotional pain and I knew that I couldn’t live like that.
I left him and came back here to Bombay only to find that there was no comfort back home either. People were doubting my character, asking me humiliating questions about my child and treating me like an outcast. At 20, this was a huge burden for me to bear, but it was the fact that I had a child in my stomach that gave me strength. I ignored what people were saying and silently began working to support myself. My brother allowed me to stay with him as I worked at multiple houses to support myself and save for my child’s needs. I kept myself so busy that there was no time to listen to anything that was being said and it got even better when my son was born — my entire struggle melted away. With great pride I sent him to school…I still remember his first day. There were times when it was tough to juggle my jobs, cook for him, pick him up for school, but we managed and managed really well — today he works at a machine factory and has a beautiful family of his own in a small town near Bombay. I could have lived with him, but I love my life here…
Yes, I am a divorced woman, but my life has had more meaning than that. Let me tell you that the initial challenges have made me a strong independent woman. Through this process, the one thing I’ve learnt is to keep growing and pushing forward. Since the past 10 years, I’ve joined a library and read two books a week…which has helped me grow and understand affairs of the world. I also stitch quilts and bags as a side business while continuing to work as domestic help at a few houses.
At 60, I’m not only a single mother, but a single grandmother and I’m not ashamed to be called a ‘divorcee’. In India we only have modern technology, but no modern thinking. Being divorced isn’t bad, sometimes there’s no other way out. Hopefully, someday we’ll be more accepting…but until then I’m not going to be embarrassed –I’m proud of the life I’ve lived.”
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.