CBR -- in search of public utilities
   Date :11-Apr-2019
Vijay Phanshikar,

It is one of the most busy roads in town -- the Central Bazar Road, with one end joining the Wardha Road on the east, and the other end just stopping short of entering the sprawling premises of the Visveswarayya National Institute of Technology. This nearly three-kilometer stretch has everything that any modern street can think of having -- hotels, hospitals, newspaper offices, Government premises, farms, colleges, schools, outdoor restaurants, statues and busts of famed personages, and even slums.
So, countless thousands of people use the Central Bazar Road every hour of the day for various purposes -- from tending to the sick to attending official tasks in employment. Yet, this famous stretch of road lacks in a couple of simple but extremely important public facilities -- rest-rooms for men and women, and some decent spots where passers by can have a stop-over even for a few minutes to rejuvenate themselves.
Along the full stretch of the road, there is not one single place where men and women can relive themselves in response to small nature’s calls. Even as the civic authorities allowed so many utilities to come up along the road, they never thought of providing public rest rooms where people can have that necessary break, refresh themselves, and then move on. This is very unfortunate. But then, Central Bazar Road is a bad symbolism of failed civic management whose evidence we see all over the city of Nagpur, officially the second capital of the highly urbanised (but hardly urbane) State of Maharashtra. In that sense, the whole city is a sort of Central Bazar Road. But spend a half-hour at any of the intersections along the long stretch, and you will realise what kind of polity patronises the road. A major section of the people using the road is from outside Nagpur, mainly from towns and villages in a radius of about 300 kilometers from Nagpur.
These people come with their kin sick and sometimes dying for treatment in hospitals along the road. The sick is inside the hospital, and the relatives roam the street, tired, bored and haggard. In clothes typical of non-urban places, with cloth bags to hold their personal effects in one hand and large polythene bags holding X-ray plates and medical reports etc in the other, these people move around. Sometimes, they support their ailing relatives from one hospital to another or to a diagnostic centre etc.
The whole scene has certain pathos, certain sense of a probable lost hope. Yet, there also is a paradoxical sense of hope that the treatment over, they would be able to take the relative home safe and sound. But for all such people, the whole stretch of Central Bazar Road does not offer simple public utilities such as rest rooms. The whole stretch also does not have small patches of green where a few benches and little overhangs could offer some shade, some cool solace. There are no water kiosks as well. True, these people do use the many eateries that have sprung up all over. Yet, the Central Bazar Road as such offers no simple facilities. This is the grief of whole Nagpur, as one would say. How true! And this sad reality is symbolised by the Central Bazar Road.