Punjab becomes first state to enforce ‘right to walk’

Current Affairs

  • Amid a steady rise in the deaths of pedestrians and cyclists, the Punjab government has implemented the ‘right to walk’ for the first time in the country.
  • Under this, pedestrian paths and cycle tracks will be made everywhere. The existing tracks will also be audited and their deficiencies will be checked.
  • The government has directed all agencies like the Public Works Department, local bodies, NHAI and urban development departments to prepare an action plan for laying footpaths and cycle tracks with time limits and budget provision.
  • The state government issued these directions following two court orders in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a PIL filed in the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court last year in an interim order asked states to ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists by providing them with separate, uninterrupted and safe pedestrian lanes and cycle tracks.
  • Asija had filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana HC in 2010 seeking the “right to walk under Article 21” by ensuring safe facilities for pedestrians.
  • Government statistics show that the death toll in road accidents has increased from 25,858 in 2019 to 29,124 in 2021, indicating that road infrastructure does not meet pedestrian safety.

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