As mercury dips in the evenings, so does the crowd. Markets which were flooded with shoppers till late night even last month, are now deserted by late evening. Walking along the roads one often sees bonfires around which sit cheerful street children in tattered clothes, trying to keep themselves warm.
Walking in Dehra Dun is not a pleasant experience, however. Ours being a small city with most places in the town within 10 – 15 minutes walking distance, for health and environmental reasons, Doonites should be walking instead of driving. However, broken down and encroached footpaths, haphazard dense traffic ready to mow you down and heaps of stinking garbage all around force even walking enthusiasts to drive. If the central part of Dehra Dun around the Clock Tower could be converted into a Pedestrian only area with no traffic, Dehra Dun could regain its lost charm. From Astley Hall to Paltan Bazaar and from Bindal Bridge to Darshan Lal Chowk, a nice walking zone can be created. A slow moving tram in the area would not only be a tourist attraction but help those unable to walk. A road along the Bindal River from New Cantt Road Bridge to Bindal Bridge can provide an alternative driving route for persons who need to drive.
The new Master Plan for Doon was released by our Chief Minister a few days ago. Its vision for Doon is highly creditable and if implemented properly can change the face of our city. One of the biggest promises it lays out is the removal of encroachments from the river beds in our town. Over the years with political patronage encroachments have eaten into the Bindal and Rispana River beds. Slums have degraded the beautiful rivers which run through our town. The Master Plan promises to beautify these river beds once again by relocating the slums and growing trees along the banks. Unfortunately, a few politicians in Congress Party have been trying to “cook their political geese” by threatening to launch an agitation if the “underprivileged people of Doon are victimized”. Rallies have been organized protesting the plan. If the Congress Party agrees that Dehra Dun is dirty and needs to be cleaned and that people living in slums should relocated to cleaner places and that natural resources should not be encroached upon, then it should help the Government in doing its task and not let petty politics come in the way. On the other hand, if it feels that slums should be allowed to thrive on river beds, then the citizens and well-wishers of Doon need to wake up and take the politicians head on. Those days when the common Indian kept quite and let the politicians play havoc with our country are over. We all deserve a clean and green Doon.
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