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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

Four roads and deadly encounters

Jatin Anand, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 11, 2011
First Published: 01:38 IST(11/1/2011) | Last Updated: 01:42 IST(11/1/2011)

One precious life is lost in our Capital every four hours.

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In fact, more than 500 Delhiites - one fourth of all the people killed in road accidents throughout last year -breathed their last after being on the wrong side of a fatal road accident on four of the city's arterial routes in 2010.

"We have identified four areas that are notorious as far as a sizeable number of fatal road accidents reported in 2010 are concerned. Many arterial routes such as NH 1, Ring Road, Outer Ring Road and the UP link road figure in the list," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

Figures from the traffic police say close to 25% of all accidents last year were reported from just four of the 43 traffic circles that Delhi is divided into.

Northwest Delhi's Narela-Bawana, which was formerly known as the Narela traffic circle, recorded maximum number of fatal road accidents at 167, while Punjabi Bagh came in a close second at 137.

"Northwest Delhi's Rohini traffic circle with 118 fatalities and east Delhi's Kalyanpuri traffic circle with 78 fatalities account for more than 500 out of the total 2,104 fatal road accidents reported in 2010," the joint CP added.

While the Narela-Bawana area gives passage to a majority of the 15,000 commercial vehicles ferrying essential commodities to the city, Rohini and Punjabi Bagh are synonymous with the omnipresent Ring Road and Outer Ring Road.

The UP Link Road in the Kalyanpuri traffic circle witnesses the most traffic, bound to and from Noida and other sub-cities such as Vaishali.

A majority of these accidents last year - as many as 1,017 - were reported between 9pm and 8am, when traffic police's presence on city streets is thinnest.

What's more disturbing is that more than 39% of these are 'hit-and-run' cases where there were either no witnesses or the only witnesses are no more.

In the past three years alone, Delhi has witnessed an addition of about 30 new flyovers and elevated roads. The public works department, Delhi's main construction agency, spent close to Rs. 1,600 crore to develop infrastructure ahead of the Commonwealth Games held in the Capital in October 2010.

To cater to more than 65-lakh vehicular population, more than the combined number of vehicles in three other metros - Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, these new roads and flyovers have turned several arterial roads almost 'signal free'. But pedestrian facilities continue to be negligible across the city.

"Pedestrians have been victimised in a majority of fatal road accidents reported so far. As per our records, more than 993 persons or 47% of those who lost their lives in fatal road accidents reported last year were pedestrians," Garg said.

According to the Delhi police, pedestrians and two wheeler drivers account for more than a whopping 80% of the total number of persons who were killed in road accidents in the Capital last year.

"While 691 two wheeler drivers were killed, 993 pedestrians were killed in fatal road accidents last year. Though fatal accidents have come down by 168 cases in relation to 2009, the trend is still worrisome," said a senor police officer requesting anonymity.

In addition to feeling that they are doing all they can to make roads safer, the traffic law enforcers believe the fault lies with the roads. "These fatalities can be attributed either to drastic faults in their design or lack of facilities for pedestrians. How can we be held accountable if bikers fall off a badly designed flyover? asked the officer.


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