30 killed on Sion-Pan­vel high­way this year

KILLER STRETCH Around 72 peo­ple were in­jured in ac­ci­dents be­tween Jan­uary and July on pot­hole-rid­dled high­way, said sources in traf­fic dept

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Sion-Pan­vel high­way has turned into one of the most danger­ous road stretches in Navi Mum­bai.

Many have been killed and in­jured in road ac­ci­dents with ev­ery pass­ing year.

Ac­cord­ing to mo­torists, the high­way wit­nesses fre­quent ac­ci­dents as the road is in a bad con­di­tion with pot­holes sur­fac­ing ev­ery­where.

Ac­cord­ing to sources from the traf­fic depart­ment, be­tween Jan­uary and July this year, as many as 30 peo­ple were killed and 73 oth­ers were in­jured in 80 ac­ci­dents that oc­curred on this road stretch.

In 2015, 43 peo­ple died and 121 oth­ers were in­jured in 138 road ac­ci­dents along this stretch. Of the 138 ac­ci­dents, 41 were ma­jor ones, said sources.

In the most re­cent ac­ci­dent on the high­way, two men were killed af­ter their bike was hit by dumper near Shi­ra­vane fly­over on Tues­day.

To avoid a pot­hole, the biker had slowed down the speed of the bike on the busy road and ended up get­ting hit by a dumper from the rear. The pot­holes on Sion-Pan­vel high­way claimed two lives on Tues­day.

The duo suc­cumbed to their in­juries at a hospi­tal while un­der­go­ing treat­ment.

“It is true that the high­way has wit­nessed fre­quent ac­ci­dents ow­ing to its a bad con­di­tion. The high­way was con­structed

barely two years ago, but it has devel­oped pot­holes at sev­eral spots. Some ar­eas such as near Juina­gar sta­tion and Nerul are se­verely af­fected,” said a se­nior of­fi­cer from the traf­fic depart­ment.

With the on­set of the mon­soon, sev­eral patches of the high­way have got dam­aged. Even as ef­forts are be­ing taken to fix the pot­holes, it is hardly serv­ing any pur­pose be­cause of the heavy rain­fall.

The of­fi­cer said, “Pot­holes are, how­ever, not the only rea­son for fre­quent ac­ci­dents. Some mo­torists are also to be blamed. Many of them do not fol­low road safety norms. They jump sig­nals when­ever they don’t see traf­fic of­fi­cials at the spot.”

“Other vi­o­la­tions such as rash driv­ing, drink driv­ing, driv­ing with­out wear­ing seat belts and hel­mets are also very com­mon. We have been con­duct­ing drives to keep a check,” he said.

“More of­fi­cials have also been de­ployed near toll nakas and other im­por­tant junc­tions. But the men­ace can­not be stopped com­pletely if the peo­ple do not co­op­er­ate with us,” he added.

Fol­low­ing the sud­den dis­ap­pear­ance of a fam­ily that al­legedly fled ow­ing to a money lender’s ha­rass­ment, the Pan­vel po­lice have be­gun an in­quiry into the func­tion­ing of money­len­ders in the city.

The po­lice are still try­ing to trace Ab­hay Kalyankar, his wife and son, who went miss­ing 10 days ago.

Ac­cord­ing to Kalyankar’s rel­a­tives, the Kalyankars were un­der im­mense stress as a lo­cal money­len­der was trou­bling them to pay a high rate of in­ter­est for a loan they bor­rowed from him. The fam­ily prob­a­bly aban­doned their house and fled overnight to es­cape the stress.

Se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor Su­nil Ba­jare from Pan­vel po­lice sta­tion said, “Fol­low­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of the fam­ily, a num­ber of peo­ple have called us and in­formed about the ha­rass­ment they face from money­len­ders.”

The po­lice have pre­pared a list of money lenders in the city who charge high in­ter­est rates — around 10% to 15% ev­ery month — for loans. They are also ques­tion­ing each of these money lenders. “A po­lice team is col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion on money­len­ders in the city,” said Ba­jare.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, there have been in­stances of peo­ple com­mit­ting sui­cides in Kalam­boli, Kamothe and Khan­desh­war ar­eas ow­ing to ha­rass­ment from money lenders.

“In­stead of flee­ing their homes or tak­ing dras­tic steps such as com­mit­ting sui­cide, we ap­peal to the res­i­dents to in­form us,” said Ba­jare.

“They can call us on 9870175033 with their com­plaints. We will take im­me­di­ate ac­tion,” added Ba­jare.

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