Killer roads claim 199 lives

ALARM­ING NUM­BERS

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

Three weeks af­ter BJP MLA Manda Mha­tre made a sur­prise visit to Ed­u­ca­tion, Train­ing and Ser­vice Cen­tre (ETC) for PWDs, school of NMMC for spe­cial chil­dren and made cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions, the Shiv Sena vis­ited the in­sti­tute.

On Thurs­day, MP Ra­jan Vichare and party deputy leader and for­mer mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Vi­jay Na­hata backed the cen­tre di­rec­tor Var­sha Bha­gat and give her a clean chit.

The par­ents, who had as­sem­bled in large num­bers hop­ing their griev­ances will be ad­dressed, were by­passed by the large posse of Shiv Sena politi­cians.

Mha­tre had com­plained to the chief min­is­ter on the func­tion­ing of ETC and de­manded an in­quiry. The mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner had given a clean chit to the di­rec­tor and the in­sti­tu­tion.

Na­hata, who had helped set up the in­sti­tu­tion in 2007 as the then mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner, too ex­plained the func­tion­ing of the in­sti­tu­tion to Vichare.

He said, “We will re­quest the com­mis­sioner to start a bus ser­vice and ex­tend the study hours of stu­dents as the par­ents want.”

Later, Vichare said, “This is a good project of NMMC and de­serves sup­port. If there are com­plaints, the ad­min­is­tra­tion can cor­rect them.”

On not speak­ing to the par­ents he said, “We were not here for any pub­lic­ity. There are some griev­ances of the par­ents about which we will speak to the mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner. They will be taken up in the gen­eral body meet­ing as well.”

Though the Navi Mum­bai traf­fic depart­ment claims to have taken all pos­si­ble steps to re­duce road ac­ci­dents in the city, data re­veals that lit­tle has changed.

Be­tween Jan­uary and July this year, 199 peo­ple died in road ac­ci­dents com­pared to 188 fa­tal­i­ties in the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year.

The city wit­nessed 244 ma­jor and 50 mi­nor ac­ci­dents, and 397 peo­ple suf­fered in­juries in the same pe­riod. There were 268 ma­jor and 72 mi­nor mishaps with 472 peo­ple suf­fer­ing in­juries in the first seven months of the last year.

Apart from other city roads, this year too recorded a few ma­jor ac­ci­dents on the Mum­bai-Pune ex­press­way.

In one such fa­tal crash, 17 peo­ple died and 47 were in­jured af­ter a lux­ury bus rammed into two sta­tion­ary cars and then fell down into a gorge near Pan­vel on June 5.

Arvind Salve, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (traf­fic), said, “The rea­sons be­hind the fre­quent road ac­ci­dents vary from drink-driv­ing to rash-driv­ing to sig­nal-jump­ing to lane-cut­ting. Lack of aware­ness among the masses ap­pears to be the big­gest is­sue in this re­gard.”

“It has been ob­served that ed­u­cated peo­ple are also flout­ing traf­fic norms. For ex­am­ple, de­spite foot-over-bridges, hun­dreds of peo­ple il­le­gally cross the ThaneBe­la­pur road to reach their of­fices ev­ery morn­ing. All these peo­ple are ed­u­cated and do good jobs,” he said.

An of­fi­cer of Vashi traf­fic unit said, “The traf­fic depart­ment has two op­tions to whit­tle down road ac­ci­dents. The first op­tion is to cre­ate aware­ness by con­duct­ing dif­fer­ent pro­grammes. We or­gan­ise pro­grammes, sem­i­nars, and work­shops as part of road safety week. We also con­duct classes in schools and col­leges to sen­si­tise stu­dents. But peo­ple for­get ev­ery­thing and start flout­ing the norms again.

“The sec­ond op­tion is to take puni­tive mea­sures against vi­o­la­tors. We have in­ten­si­fied our drives across the city in re­cent times. Now, you will find at least one spe­cial drive,” he said.

“Equipped with breathal­y­sers and speed guns, our of­fi­cials con­duct drives and col­lect fines from vi­o­la­tors. But such menace can­not be stopped to­tally un­less each cit­i­zen starts fol­low­ing traf­fic rules,” he added.

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