Vijayawada: Hundreds of students risk their life while trying to cross the roads in Vijayawada, at least twice a day.
Students waiting on the roadside for traffic flow to ebb is a common sight on any major road in the city, more so in school zones like the Benz Circle.
Wait they must, as any attempt to cross the road and reach their destination is fraught with immense risk.
According to the traffic police, the major chunk of victims of accidents in the city is pedestrians.
There are around 20 educational institutions close by at Benz Circle and every day, thousands of students are seen both in the morning and evenings, waiting. While some wait for their transportation, others wait to cross the road.
Some students say that sometimes, the wait stretches over 20 minutes, just for the traffic flow to ease.
Even if the traffic flow eases, there is always the risk of a speeding vehicle hitting anyone crossing the road. Citizens are wary of such vehicles as many drivers care a hoot for the traffic rules. For some drivers zebra crossings are just some white lines on the road, with no specific purpose.
There is only one foot-over-bridge to cross the road between Benz Circle and NTR Circle, but students and others do not prefer to use it. Another 4 km from the NTR Circle is the second FOB and the third one yet another 3 km away, at Penamaluru on Bandar Road.
Unfortunately, educational institutions and parents never bother to teach their wards about road safety and to use the FOB where available. As for motorist, stopping to let people cross the road appears to be an alien concept.
K. Mythili, who just cleared her Intermediate, said that despite the heavy traffic flow, some students try to dodge the oncoming vehicles and cross the roads, invariably risking their life. “We not only need more FOBs, but also awareness about them. With Vijayawada becoming the de facto capital of the state, volume of traffic has shot up dramatically and something needs to be done,” she said.
Students say that FOBs are urgently needed on the Nirmala Convent Road at Siddhartha School, Jammichettu Centre, Ayodhyanagar and some other areas.
Taxpayers association general secretary M.V. Anjaneyulu said that neither civic body officials nor the traffic police is bothered about finding a permanent solution.
“They concentrate only on some areas in the city. The existing FOBs are too tall and not useful except for hanging of political banners,” Mr Anjaneyulu said.
He said building underpasses and subways across the city would be a better option.