The Holkar Bridge in Pune is atleast 150 years old. It is built over the mula river. I pass this bridge to & from work everyday. You will invariably get into a traffic jam during peak hours around this place. The alternate route to this bridge is to travel around the city. This little bridge has side pavements & railings on either side. Other than the normal 2-wheelers & 4-wheelers, all kinds of heavy weight vehicles including buses, trucks, and military vehicles use the Holkar Bridge mercilessly. Most 2-wheelers use the side pavement and that truly in effect have turned out to be the fastest lane.
Yesterday while returning from work, in my 4-wheeler, at the onset of the bridge, I noticed the traffic to be moving at snail speed on the fastest lane. While I was wondering if we were getting into a traffic jam ahead, I saw a pretty young lady walking on the pavement and the 2-wheelers trying to keep their balance on the narrow pavement behind her. It is a dicey feeling to drive over that pavement because in all probability, the railings are also 150 yrs old and with the least help might find ourselves in the river below. Don’t worry, even if it is so, the river right now has enough water to cushion the fall so you might not break a bone or two just that you will emerge with dried flowers, plastic covers (from the flood last year) & algae all over, looking like a pretty little Christmas tree but smelling like shit. Everyone on the road were throwing her looks as if she was the sole reason for all the traffic jams in the history of Holkar bridge and only after she steps down from this pavement can they begin any improvement work and they have been waiting for it for the past 100 years. She realized the awkwardness and jumped on to the road. Now to say of the road, the extreme right & left sides of this lane is occupied by the 2-wheelers and also the gaps in between the bumpers of 4-wheelers. The precision & unsaid discipline is such that an ariel view would probably suggest VVIP vehicles moving. As soon as the confused lady jumped on to the road, the extreme left lane of motorist was all disturbed and started honking. Suddenly she started running, not knowing what to do next. I couldn't help but laugh at the sudden turn of events. So much for the rights of pedestrians & use of pavements.
The Holkar Bridge is under the cantonment administration & that is often used as the excuse for the bad maintenance of the bridge. Our finance minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, last year during his visit to the city is also quoted to have asked
"Which defence authorities' clearance is awaited? It is not the Russian defence authority. It's is our defence ministry."Do we expect any changes this year?? Will keep you posted. Meanwhile "Long Live Holkar Bridge"(only then I will survive....yeah yeah selfish selfish me)