The Supreme Court recently expressed their concern over 14,926 people being killed in road accidents due to potholes in the last five years and termed it “unacceptable”.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said a large number of deaths caused due to potholes across the country was “probably more than those killed on a border or by the terrorists”
The bench comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta said, “ the number of deaths from 2013-2017 in accidents due to potholes indicates that the authorities are least concerned about maintaining the condition of roads.
The death count in India in the year 2017 stood at 3597 with Maharashtra the second highest with with 726 lives lost due to potholes.
Speaking to Pune365 Ranjit Gadgil, Program director of Parisar, People are killed usually due to a combination of factors such as speed, poor lighting, not wearing a helmet (Rider and pillion), road conditions etc. Potholes can, therefore, be one of the contributing factors.
But certainly, no one can justify poorly maintained roads.
The Supreme Court appointed Committee on Road Safety had issued many directives to State Governments to take steps to address this issue. Maharashtra Government has also issued several GRs to PWD and recently to Corporations also.
The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha and awaits passage in the Rajya Sabha (for it to become the law) has added provisions to hold accountable any authority, consultant or contractor for failure to adhere to safety standards for the design, construction and maintenance of roads.
Rajendra Pawar, Senior software professional says, “Am not surprised by these statistics.
If we can build good highways, why can’t we give equal importance to city roads too?
We come up with stringent traffic rules which are implemented for brief periods and cause deaths. But, if the basic infrastructure like a decent road is not provided along with it then the exercise is futile.
Some of the city roads are like the surface of the moon. There is much corruption which adding to the problem since then it is often substandard material and bad contractors”
Sheila Patwardhan, Journalist says, Pune is a city with a growing vehicular population, despite so many deaths, there is no plan of action taken yet.
This entire monsoon, citizens were struggling to avoid the pothole ridden drives that often lead to permanent physical disabilities and fatality in several victims.
Such rising numbers shows the value of life in Maharashtra and the level of corruption in the provision of a basic amenity like a road.
Before bringing in the Metro in the city, they should enhance their existing public transport system and improve the conditions of the roads.
Major parts of the roads are damaged due to the construction of Metro and no repair work is carried out later. Authorities are fooling people in the name of good governance.
How can this be called development if the existing facility is not improving? she added.
The pothole-filled road are mostly see in monsoon and despite having many deadline none of the cooperations has yet taken it seriously says Pallavi Singh, a marketing executive.
The death rate is not surprising there is so much of compromise while driving, be it potholes or the unmarked speed breakers which are hard to notice on a dark street.
With the increasing deaths, the government has just proved inefficiency and corruption. There is no use of urbanisation and rapid development and metros, if the basic amenities like safe roads are not provided.
Despite complaining to the authorities the work done is not long lasting.
While questioning them, the authorities say that once the road is dug, the surface gets disturbed and due to which the work is done is not long lasting
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