There was a time not so long ago, when Pune was a pleasant place to live in. However, over the past few years, the city has degenerated, civic infrastructure has collapsed and there is practically no element of planning visible in any of the initiatives undertaken by the civic body.
In particular, the traffic scenario has become so bad, that going on a “quiet long drive” is now a utopian idea, seeing the condition of the roads, absence of footpaths for pedestrians, and lastly an increasing disregard and intolerance for any kind of rules and regulations. People seem to drive their vehicles at will, breaking traffic-signals, driving on the wrong side of the road, entering a one-way street, double parking on already congested roads… you name it !!
This intolerance is now becoming a menace, with such drivers actually abusing those who do follow traffic rules and signals. Some of my friends have even been victims of road rage in the extreme, where the wrongdoer (driving a car) verbally abused them, followed them for some distance and then “accidentally nudged” their bikes at an opportune moment, causing them to lose their balance and fall. They were fortunate enough to escape without major injuries, though I shudder to think of their fate if an oncoming bus or truck happened to be around at that moment.
More than half the time, the signals don’t work, and even when they do, there are no cops around to enforce any discipline, so everyone has a field day. With the threat of power cuts now looming large again, driving on these semi dug up roads in the night with such “traffic intolerance” is going to become an exercise for survival !
I also remember reading an article in the newspaper some months ago, which highlighted this as the main cause for the deterioration in the quality of family life in Pune. People often find coming back home from work akin to a daily adventure, which means that by the time they reach home, they are extremely hassled and in an agitated frame of mind. Irritation with kids, spouse, in-laws or for that matter, anything else is just an offshoot of this situation, and many people are actually considering moving out of Pune.
This would be a pity, because the city still has much to offer. It is time the elected representatives “actually” do the work they are supposed to do and restore Pune to it’s original position as a prime destination to stay.