Crossing road with child patients a herculean task
SRINAGAR: Emerging through the main gate of the GB Pant Children’s Hospital here at Sonwar, which exits onto the busy Srinagar-Jammu Highway, Nayeema Bano has a child on her right arm and prescriptions, a blanket and a lunch box in the other. A massive flow of traffic plies the road, but without any convenient crossing facility.
It took Nayeema ten to fifteen minutes to cross to the other side, that too after an auto driver stopped to assist her. The same is the case with scores of the hospital’s other visitors, many accompanied by little children, struggling to make their way through the flow of fast-moving vehicles at the busy intersection that has not a single speed breaker or even a zebra crossing.
GB Pant is the Valley’s lone children’s hospital and is visited by thousands of people each day who come carrying their patients in their arms, perforce exposing them to the highway’s heavy, accident-prone traffic.
Ambulances and other hospital vehicles are also stranded here for a long time as they have to take a curve against the flow of traffic. Although two traffic policemen try hard to manage the situation, but unregulated stops by passenger buses only add to the chaos.
Commuters and attendants accompanying the minor patients told Kashmir Reader that it is very difficult and risky to cross the road in such circumstances. The traffic cop duo seconded them, saying that it is “a miracle” that the day passes without any untoward incident.
“Every day, I and my other colleagues help dozens of people in crossing the road. They carry children and other stuff with them, and with this amount of traffic, it is very difficult to cross. Many times, even we get stuck,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, an auto rickshaw driver outside the hospital.
He said that although no big accident has taken place at the crossing so far, but one can happen any time, given the situation. There is a dire need to construct speed breakers and demarcate crossings outside the hospital, he said.
“I was so nervous as to how should I cross,” said a visibly shaken Nayeema. “I could only do so thanks to the brother who came and helped me. I was more worried about my kid. They have constructed footbridges at other hospitals; one should be constructed here also.”
Interestingly, there are several speed breakers made at regular spots a few hundred metres away from the hospital, outside the Badamibagh army cantonment stretch. There is also a footbridge constructed over the road, bisecting the cantonment area.
Chief Engineer, Roads and Buildings, Smai Arif told Kashmir Reader that the hospital is on the highway and comes under the jurisdiction of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), but the R&B department will construct the speed breakers.
“It does not come with the department, but since it is an issue which needs immediate attention, we will construct the speed breakers,” Arif assured.