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Escalators for 3 footbridges

Guwahati, May 29: Pedestrians will no longer have to climb stairs on foot over bridges as the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has decided to install elevators or escalators on three overbridges in the city.

GMDA chief executive officer M. Angamuthu told The Telegraph today that a decision has been taken to install lifts or escalators to reach overbridges at Maligaon, Bharalumukh and Lachit Nagar here.

This is for the first time that lifts/escalators will be installed on footbridges here.

“The decision was taken because it is difficult for senior citizens, women and children to climb stairs on overbridges. Lifts or escalators will ensure that they use the footbridges without any difficulty,” he said.

In the absence of the lifts or escalators, most people avoid using the footbridges to cross roads, risking their lives and posing problems for motorists. The situation gets worse during rush hour.

Angamuthu said the decision on installing an elevator or an escalator would be taken depending on the space available at both the ends of the footbridges and other factors.

He said if everything goes according to plan, the work is expected to start within a month. He said the lifts/escalators would be installed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

“We had invited expressions of interest from private agencies for installation and maintenance of the lifts/escalators and a few parties have responded to it. Of them, a competent party will be selected to carry out the job in lieu of advertisement rights on the footbridges,” Angamuthu said.

The private agency will also have to arrange full power backup for running lifts/escalators and illumination of the footbridges.

“The private partner will design, finance and construct the lifts/escalators and in return, they will get the revenue from advertisement rights at designated spaces in the footbridges for a period of five years,” another GMDA official said. “In other words, no expense will be borne by the GMDA,” he added.

The GMDA has stipulated that the selected private agency will have to operate, maintain and manage the project facilities, including ancillary and supporting infrastructure according to technical specifications and requirements to be laid down by the authority.

Welcoming the GMDA move, Pradip Bhuyan, retired official of the agriculture department and a resident of Lachit Nagar, said a lift or escalator would be very useful for people like him, who suffer from knee aches.

“Even at home, I avoid using stairs. So, I do not use the footbridge at Lachit Nagar,” Bhuyan said.

“Since very few people use the footbridges, beggars and anti-socials have made the bridges their home. I hope the situation will change after the lifts/escalators are installed,” he added.

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