The stretch between Pagalkhana (Mental Hospital) and Koradi of National Highway No. 69 is rapidly turning a hotspot for fatal accidents. In fact the newly-built National Highway is being used as racing track by overenthusiastic vehicle drivers particularly the motorcyclists. Many believe flawed planning or absence of highway police or total lack of traffic sense on the part of users for ever growing accidents. Whoever may be at fault the bitter truth is that the victims are turning out to be human beings. Now, the question is being raised is: Are the concerned authorities awaiting the accidents to reach its peak for correcting the wrong? The wrong in the form of flawed construction, shortcomings, and above all the apathy!! The first four squares of the National Highway or the racing track starting from Nagpur rattle the nearby residents and shopkeepers to the core in fear of a fatal accident anytime, anywhere.
The work of four-lane National Highway from Nagpur’s Mental Hospital to Betul in MP has been shown as “A1” Grade on paper. But a close look could reveal the National Highway 69 is riddled with technical shortcomings. If the technical aspects are kept aside, the Highway from Nagpur to Saoner could be called a shining marvel in broader terms. This stretch has been fully opened for traffic in August 2014. When one starts journey from Nagpur, he has to traverse through the first four major squares namely Mankapur Square, Zingabai Takli Square, Koradi Road Post Square and then Modern School Square. All these four squares are under city limits and surrounded by thickly populated residential areas. Majority of vehicle-owners of these areas travel between Nagpur and Saoner and other way round on almost daily basis for the purpose of business or office or other day-to-day chores of livelihood. Apart from these vehicle-owners, there is heavy influx of fast-running vehicles used by people directly between Nagpur city and Saoner and vice versa and umpteen small towns and villages situated on the stretch of the Highway. In this situation, the four squares, surrounded by thickly populated areas, turn life-threatening in the event of fatal road accidents. The accidents don’t distinguish between men and women, young and aged. All are potential victims if a mishap were to occur.
According to traffic experts, the only way to avert recurring accidents is deployment of highway police not only at the four major squares but along the entire stretch of National Highway. Secondly, initiation of concrete safety measures in various forms. But the present situation and the attitude of concerned authorities are far away from the solution. On one hand, the officials of National Highway are shirking their responsibilities by stating that the cropped up problems are not their business and on the other hand, an official of the four-lane builder company named Sharma says that the National Highway has been constructed as per plans. Enraged by the wordings of the officials, some alert citizens have decided to approach Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for his intervention and hammering out a permanent solution to the dreaded problem.
Racing track for motorcyclists?
The speed limits in either city or outside has been fixed. However, some overenthusiastic youths riding the expensive and fast-running motorcycles have turned the National Highway 69 a racing track for displaying their unwarranted dare-devilry. On every Sunday morning, at least two dozen motorcyclists are found racing carelessly putting their lives and others as well at risk. These youths bet among themselves how fast they can touch Saoner and some youths “proudly” say they do it within 15 minutes. It means they are riding their bikes at the dangerous speed of 150-200 kmph. Forget the “flying youths,” the highway police, who are well informed, are found turning a blind eye toward the “feats” and thus pushing the other vehicle-owners on the edge. The highway police, it appears, are awaiting a chain of fatal accidents to wake from their deep slumber and then act. But it would have been a deadly delay at the cost of many human lives.
by:-Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha