Jamuna Prasad ‘Bose’, an ex-MLA and two-time minister lives in a two-room house in the middle of Banda which is about 125 km from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The house he lives in is in a weak condition. The paint has fallen off the walls, and white patches have appeared. On the side walls, hang the portraits of Vinoba Bhave and Subhash Chandra Bose.
Amidst all this, there is a verandah with a charpoy where Jamuna Prasad ‘Bose’ soaks in the pleasant sun.
He struggled for the rights of poor which earned him his surname ‘Bose’ which he gladly uses.
He doesn’t remember when he rented the house. He believes it must be more than 50 years ago and he pays the rent through his pension.
Jamuna Prasad is 92-years-old. He has difficulty in hearing, and he asks people to speak close to his ears. But even today, he hasn’t given up helping others.
He smiles and says,”I haven’t retired from politics. My friends don’t allow me. I am still very busy with my work,” as reported by Hindustan Times.
Jamuna Prasad ‘Bose’ was born in Khinni Naka in Banda, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. His father served as a junior clerk with the Nagar Palika. He joined politics, and his friends pitched in money to fund his first Lok Sabha election in 1962. He contested again in 1967. He fought the assembly election in 1969, but he lost in all the trials.
“We had no vehicle then; we would use cycle or horse cart. My friends used to write political messages and slogans on a wall. They would also arrange public meetings. People would give us food, water with ‘ek aana, do aana, chaar aana’ as a donation. One rupee had a big value than,” he says.
In 1974 he became an MLA from Banda Sadar, and in 1977 he became a minister after winning the assembly poll. He was made Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural development. He was inducted into the cabinet of Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1989 as Minister of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry.
Bose’s neighbour and friend Ram Sanehi Singh says that Jamuna Prasad ‘Bose’ could not even build a small house for himself. He also sold his ancestral home in Khinni Naka for Rs 1,000 in 1955 to fund his sister’s wedding. He never thought about himself and worked selflessly for people.
At present, ‘Bose’ does not live comfortably. Half of his pension goes to buy his medicines, and the remaining goes towards household expenditure. His family members and people would tell him that he could have done this and that, but he just smiles and says that he has no regrets.
Bose lost his wife long ago and is survived by his three sons who live separately and do not help him financially. One of them lives a retired life with his family in Lucknow. The second one is doing a small business in Banda, and the third son does not work.
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.