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Criminal negligence

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Five persons of a family were killed in a head on collision between their SUV and a KSRTC Rajahamsa bus near Kammadatti on the Bangalore-Chennai National Highway in the wee hours of Saturday. An eyewitness, said that construction was underway on the road as part of the four-laning of the National Highway. Traffic was allowed on only one road as the other road was being tarred. The construction agency had not put up any signboards indicating a diversion, he explained.

Speaking to Sunday Times of India K Bhagwan Das, additional SP, Kolar, said the accident occurred due to the negligence of the agencies.
For the full report in the ToI, click here

Excerpts from the New Indian Express report:

Villagers who helped the police in removing the bodies from the jeep said four-laning of the road has been going on for the last two years and is yet to be completed. They also said there were no cautionary signs to warn drivers about diversions, which led to many accidents. For the full report, click here.

It was just last week that I drove down this road, and right through the drive, my heart was in my mouth. The road is still a few months from completion, because of which, on many stretches, the traffic flow is bi-directional, and even from the sides (at villages and town-ships). But, with the work that has been done being fairly good, you see vehicles clipping away at well over 100 kmph, and with hardly any signages in place, one necessarily needs to be blessed to avoid an accident, particularly in the night.

And, this is not an isolated case either. Whether it is the Salem highway, Tumkur highway, Agara fly-over, or wherever, the story is the same.

If I understand correctly, Delhi Metro took considerable pride in making the claim that it provided for smooth flow of city traffic during its construction phase. One had hoped that with such examples in place, others will follow suit, leading to a cultural change in the outlook of the construction agencies. But, sadly, that seems far from happening.

It again looks like somebody has to approach the courts to issue necessary directives to the construction agencies. 

Muralidhar Rao


murali772's picture

And, the huge cost!

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It is young lives that are being nipped in the bud, and these sudden and gory deaths are happening on Indian roads. A survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) on ‘Injury and Violence in India’ has thrown up some startling facts. In 2009, among the 3,34,766 deaths due to injury reported in India, 2,05,350 (i.e 61.3% of deaths) were in the age group of 15-44. The male to female ratio in these cases was 4:1.

Of the 33,000 deaths that took place in Bangalore in 2009, accidents were the leading cause, especially among those in the age group of 15-24 years, followed by suicide. The data shows that road accidents and suicides contribute to 60-70% of the total deaths.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Doesn't need much elaboration, I guess. What a huge cost to pay?

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanth's picture

Same was the case on Bangalore-Mysore SH

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During four laning of SH-17, there was a similar scenario and there were many small accidents which media did not report. Even now, for maintenance purpose, they suddenly block one lane and allow both the direction of traffic in a single lane without prior indications.

murali772's picture

Neglect of safety aspects during project stage

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NH-48 has now become a 4-lane expressway from Nelamangala, almost upto Chanarayapatana (some 30Km short of Hassan). Toll booths have come up on this stretch and should become operational soon, I expect.

Driving towards Mangalore down this stretch (some 10 days back - check this), some 20 km before Chanarayapatana, we suddenly found vehicles coming in the opposite direction (towards us) on our side of the road, and keeping to their left - meaning, onto us on our fast lane. There was absolutely no advance warning for us, and travelling as we were at a fairly high speed on the well laid out expressway, we were taken totally by surprise, and not a pleasant one at that. Whatever, realising that vehicles were being diverted onto our side, possibly on account of some blockage on the other side, we slowed down till we found that the flow from the opposite side had abruptly stopped, some 5 km from where it had started. Again, there was no indication whatsoever of where the diversion had ended, like with the start too.

The extremely serious nature of the hazard, that this lack of advance warning poses, hit us forcefully on our return journey, when we reached this stretch around 8 PM. The barricade marking the diversion came upon us, out of the darkness, again without any advance warning, and we had to brake hard to avoid running into it. Not surprisingly, we found the barricade totally contorted, with many a vehicle having rammed into it already. We switched to the other side, and drove slowly using low beam headlights, and the hazard blinkers switched on. In spite of this, we sensed the surprise, on the part of the drivers of the oncoming vehicles, by our presence on this side, quite like we were taken by surprise, on our upward journey. After a while, both the streams (upward and downward) kind of came to terms with each other, and went about negotiating their ways carefully.

After driving for a while this way, it suddenly dawned on us that, somewhere along, the other side had opened up for traffic. Even if there was some indication as to from where this had happened, we clearly missed it, even with our two pairs of eyes looking for it desperately - the signages, if they had been put up at all, were certainly not good enough. Thereafter, it became a desperate attempt to look for a break in the road divider to cross over. And, there were quite a few - made perhaps by the local villagers for wheeling their bullock carts through, taking which meant the risk of scraping your car under-carriage, though.

Perhaps the signages will improve once maintenance and patrolling of the stretches are handed over to contractors, simultaneous with the commencing of the tolling. But, apparently, NHAI doesn't give much of an importance to even basic safety aspects during project stage, which is not at all good enough - rather, one could say, criminal.

Muralidhar Rao
sanjayv's picture


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Murali sir, the section you refer to is contracted to L&T according to the NHAI. 

Devihalli-Hassan(Approved Length 73 Km)


48 77.23 Under Implementation Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

Maybe you should complain to NHAI (they have aGrievance Redressal Cell) or from the Govt. of India complaints website about this Hazard?

murali772's picture


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Thanks, Sanjay. In fact, that was precisely what I was planning to do.

I have, just a few minutes back, sent the link along with a forwarding note to Mr V L Patankar, Member (Tech), NHAI, with a copy to Chairman.

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