This month, the country was shocked to hear that Cyrus Mistry, the former head of Tata Sons, had died in a car accident in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. Data from the government shows that it wasn’t a one-time thing.
Between Ghodbunder in Thane and Dapchari in Palghar district, a 100-km stretch of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway, there have been 262 accidents this year. At least 62 people have died and 192 people have been hurt, according to police officials.
Many of these accidents happened because the driver was going too fast or didn’t think things through. But officials say that some of the reasons for the high number of accidents are bad road maintenance, lack of proper signs, and lack of ways to slow down drivers.
A Maharashtra highway police official said that 26 people have died in 25 serious accidents on the stretch of road near Charoti where Cyrus Mistry’s Mercedes car was in an accident on September 4.
During the same time period, 25 people died in 34 serious accidents near Chinchoti, and 11 people died in 10 accidents near Manor, he said.
“Charoti is a bad place for accidents, and so is the 500-meter stretch of road beyond it that leads to Mumbai,” he said. As you head toward Mumbai, the road curves before the Surya river bridge and the three-lane carriageway turns into a two-lane one, he said.
“But there aren’t any effective road signs or rumblers to slow down drivers before they reach the bridge,” the official said.
Here, gynecologist Anahita Pandole’s car was going very fast and hit the road divider. Mistry and his friend Jehangir Pandora, who were in the back seat, died. Anahita and her husband Darius, who were in the front passenger seat, were seriously hurt.
Another official said that the people in charge of keeping the road in good shape seemed to have forgotten about the safety rules set by the Indian Road Congress.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is in charge of the road, but the private company that collects tolls is in charge of keeping it in good shape, he said. The rules say that every 30 kilometers, there should be a crane and patrolling vehicles, as well as an ambulance that is ready to go.
In the wake of the September 4 accident, Maharashtra Police wrote to the Central Road Research Institute to find out what safety measures could be taken. They also asked the Central Institute of Road Transport to do a road safety audit of the part of the highway that is in Maharashtra. PTI DC KRK GK GK
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