October 6, 2016 12:48:23 am
Over the years, the city’s residents have participated in events such as nature walks and heritage walks. However, the ‘Pothole Walk’ held on October 2 was a new one. On Sunday, at least 25 people, divided into groups of five, started from Dange Chowk walked to Wakad Chowk and back, looking for potholes on the road. By the end of the walk, the groups had identified and photographed 160 potholes. These, along with the dimensions of the potholes, were then shared with the grievance redressal cell of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
Sunny Kanade, founder member of city-based group IMC Pune which organised the walk, said civic officials reached out to the group to confirm the locations of the potholes. “About a month ago, a few of my friends who were travelling from Dange Chowk to Hinjewadi spotted various potholes on a small stretch of the road. I have always believed that all the citizens, instead of blaming the system, should be alert about civic problems and should report to the concerned authorities. The Pothole Walk was an outcome of this belief,” said Sunny Kanade.
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The walk began at 8.30 in the morning and concluded at around 1 pm.
The participants walked from Dange Chowk to Bhumkar Nagar to Wakad Chowk, after which they covered the internal roads of Wakad and then walked back to Dange Chowk.
“We had divided ourselves into five groups with each group having five members. We clicked photos of all the potholes and measured their size. Using a mobile application, we posted it on the grievance redressal cell of the PCMC,” said Kanade.
So has the complaint had any effect? “Yes, some PCMC ward officers have called us to confirm the location of the potholes,” he said, adding that after three weeks, IMCPune will organise its second
Pothole Walk at Kaspatewasti near Wakad, which will also see the participation of a few other NGOs.
Rajendra Kishan Valmiki, one of the ward officers of PCMC, said, “We appreciate that these citizens have taken such unique efforts to report a problem. We will take an initiative to resolve it as soon as possible.”
Established in 2014, IMCPune, where IMC stands for ‘Improve My City’, is a social group dedicated to work for the city’s improvement. It has members from all walks of life — entrepreneurs to working professionals to homemakers. In 2014, the group launched a mobile App named IMCPune that enables residents to register complaints from their smartphones.
“The primary idea is ‘Stop ignoring, start reporting’. For instance, when people come across a pothole, the general mentality of common people is to dodge, cross and move on. We insist on reporting to officials. Just like potholes, in the past we have reported to the civic authorities about the areas that had garbage problems. Besides, the group members have carried out cleanliness drives too,” said Kanade.
Amit Hindinker, another IMCPune member, describes participating in the walk as a unique experience. Since he travels on the same route everyday, he says he felt it was his responsibility to do something for the issue.
“Passersby were asking us about our initiative and were appreciating too. It felt good. It was a great achievement for the entire team that went out of its way to point out an issue,” he said.
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