The Blue Line Extension has brought Noida closer to Ghaziabad, but commuters still face problems since there is no walkway or foot overbridge (FOB) for those coming from the Ghaziabad side to take the metro at Electronic City metro station.
Commuters jaywalk on the road at their own risk, and there seems to be no concrete plan to address the issue any time soon. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to build a FOB over the Model Town crossing near the station to connect it with Ghaziabad, but work on it will begin only after its current project on the stretch is completed.
The NHAI is currently developing the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) alongside NH-24, and the construction work has badly affected the Model Town crossing. Work is going on at the stretch, with diversions in place on both sides. It has also resulted in dust pollution, since no water sprinkling is done at the spot, in violation of NGT norms.
NHAI sources claimed the work on the 8km stretch of the DME between UP Gate and Vijay Nagar, under which Model Town crossing falls, is 50% complete and the stretch will be opened in two months.
A visit to the spot on March 11 showed traffic congestion. Roads on both sides have become narrow due to the ongoing work, which chokes traffic movement. In addition to this, trucks carrying construction materials continue to ply to the site frequently, and regular traffic is halted during their movement. In the absence of a public transport system, most commuters are hiring autos to ply from Ghaziabad to Noida to reach the metro station. From the crossing, the station is around 150m away, and rickshaws and e-rickshaws charge Rs 20 and Rs 10, respectively.
Ashish Gupta, a resident of Sarita Vihar, had just deboarded the metro and walked to the Model Town crossing. “It is a five-minute walk, but a very risky one. The construction work has created a lot of dust pollution. It will be difficult to breath if a person stays here for longer. Crossing the road is very difficult as there is no FOB,” he said.
Dipankar Gaur, a Bulandshahr resident who commutes from his home to his Sector 63 office, said, “It takes two hours to reach office and three hours to return home due to jams. The authorities concerned should complete the project soon.”
NHAI said it plans to build a FOB at Model Town crossing soon. “There is a proposal to develop a FOB to link the metro station with Indirapuram, but work on that project is likely to start only after the ongoing one is completed,” said R P Singh, Project Director, NHAI. NHAI is also building 10 underpasses between UP Gate and Vijay Nagar, which are likely to be completed by May.
Meanwhile, Ghaziabad has no such plans. “So far, no one has approached us with this problem. If the problem is on the Noida side, access has to be created by Noida. But if we are approached by anyone with this problem, we will look into it,” Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ritu Maheshwari said. A Noida Authority official said they would look into the matter.
Source: The Times of India, Delhi/NCR