GUWAHATI, June 21 - In broad daylight and in the presence of a lot of fellow pedestrians, Mita Choudhury’s gold chain was snatched away by a biker coming from the opposite direction on the Ashram Road at South Sarania.
A teacher in a private school, Choudhury had no reason to doubt the well-dressed, underage youth riding a swanky motorcycle, before he actually swooped down on her and disappeared with the broken chain.
Such bikers are a new menace in the entire Sarania, Ulubari and Gandhi Mandap areas, posing a threat to pedestrians, locals and vehicles passing by. With the start of the summer season, the route from the Ulubari flyover to the RG Baruah Road via Pub Sarania, South Sarania, Rajgarh and Commerce College point gets to see a lot of bike stunts and rash driving, mostly by youth appearing to be from well-heeled families.
The picturesque Gandhi Mandap Road that leads to the historic museum made in the memory of the Father of the Nation has become another den of antisocial elements, specially towards the evening hours, which has caused a lot of resentment among the residents of the locality.
Noting a number of incidents of reckless bike racing and two incidents of chain and mobile snatching in the area, the residents have asked the authorities to take action and increase police patrolling in the area and take measures for controlling the irresponsible driving. The locals have also appealed to the administration to sanitise the Gandhi Mandap Road.
Many residents also alleged that most of such bike riders remain under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Last Saturday, a girl student’s mobile was snatched away on the 9th byelane of Lachit Nagar. Such incidents happen regularly here. Even after filing of police complaints, action is hardly taken by police for recovering the items,” Pranjit Sarma, an entrepreneur, who witnessed the mobile snatching incident, stated.
“For the last few years, the residents of Ashram Road and Lachit Nagar areas have been regularly observing the menace of reckless bikers who zoom past other vehicles, crisscrossing the road at high speed. Sometimes, they also create a lot of din in the late night hours in the locality. It is also noticed that such groups, mostly comprising young boys and girls, descend from the Sarania Hill. Though there are police checking every now and then, the area has a lot of lanes and byelanes, through which the bikers cleverly escape,” Rishiraj Sarma, singer and advocate, Gauhati High Court, told The Assam Tribune.
“As most of such youths appear to be educated and from financially stable families, the parents and educational institutions should also keep an eye on them. Apart from the police, it is also a collective responsibility of society at large,” he added.
Some of the residents also stated that the since Gandhi Mandap is now a home to one of the country’s tallest National Flags, special measures should be taken for proper illumination of the road in the evening and for making it suitable for children.
“We have such an attractive tourist destination in the city, which is but neglected by the authorities. In the name of the Smart City Project, the beautification drive is taking too long. The hills have always remained off-limits to children and family visits, especially during the night. The government should take proper measures to make Gandhi Mandap approachable,” Monimala Dey, an investment banker residing in Ulubari area, said.