The first few news articles I read this morning were depressing ones about the UP elections. That probably explains my less than cheerful previous post. “A quick Facebook session should lift my spirits,” I told myself. And boy, did it? My favorite uncategorizable community organization, The Ugly Indian, had made a foray into a new area – road usability/reclamation. In slightly over one hour, a few able-bodied Ugly Indians fixed a jutting manhole cover and freed up 20% of the width of Church Street, Bangalore – woohoo! Take a bow, guys!
|Picture 1 : A manhole cover jutting out is a traffic hazard, eats up 20% of the road, and gathers muck. This particular cover on Church Street has been like this for over a year – and nobody has done anything about it. Everyone here knows about it and complains (the businesses, the police, the shopkeepers, the public…)|
| Picture 2 : There’s only one way to know what lies beneath!|
Warning: these concrete covers are HEAVY and need 3-4 people.
Surprise – this is not a sewerage chamber (as most people assume) – we unearth a Tata Indicom telecom cable junction! This is part of the high-speed broadband network here!
| Picture 3 : The city’s roads and footpaths have been mauled by our telecom companies (Tata Indicom, Airtel, RIL and others). They have done an incredibly shabby job in this case.|
The team of UIs sets about creating a neat hole to pack the cables and replace the cover. It is a delicate business (we have to keep the wires protected) and takes a fair amount of trial and error.
|Picture 4 : The manhole cover seating is broken – so we do a jugaad job using stones and bricks (We will return to do a pucca job later).|
|Picture 5 : An hour later, the road is rescued and the manhole cover is deliberately covered in a layer of dirt – to attract cars to use this part of the road.|
|Picture 6 : It works! The impact is immediate.|
20% of the road is rescued.
|Picture 7 : Not bad for an hour’s hard labour:)|
Try it sometime – surely, there’s a poorly placed manhole cover near your home/office! All you need is a crowbar and a few enthusiastic people.