The police of Chandigarh have identified 21 sensitive stretches or points on the three main roads of the city, the Madhya Marg, Dakshin Marg and Vikas Marg. Some of these 21 points get a lot of attention in police files, engineering circles and also newspapers, as accidents are more frequent here.
But there are many other problem points across the city — on the list of 21 and also beyond — that see deadly accidents and are slowly but surely emerging as black spots. In the fourth part of HT’s series on road safety, we examine some of these spots.
One such is the Kalibari light point, which has seen as many as 10 accidents in last three years; two of them were fatal. The wide intersection leads to Sector 47. The accident analysis cell of the UT traffic police has also suggested that cycle tracks are required at this spot. Then, of course, is the Government Press traffic signal, on the Sector 8/9-17/18 intersection. Eight deaths have been reported at this spot in the past four years. Causes of accidents here are high speed and jumping of traffic lights. In most cases, vehicles were hit from behind.
Tribune Chowk is another dangerous spot. This year, so far, four deaths have been reported on the National Highway-21 stretch around this roundabout. Even at the Sector 16-17 lights and the 16-23 roundabout, accidents have increasingly been reported; the former has seen eight accidents in three years, while a couple of serious accidents have also been reported on the road dividing Sectors 17 and 18.
Wide roads, dangerous excitement
Though comparatively less number of serious accidents are reported on Jan Marg —road leading from Matka Chowk to the high court — and the road separating Sectors 2 and 3 near Chandigarh Club, even the roads outside ministers’ houses in Sector 2 going towards Sukhna Lake is accident-prone. The main cause here is high speed, as the sprawling wide roads make motorists want to zip around.
Police, too, have identified some other stretches that carry threats. On the road dividing Sectors 44 and 45, nine accidents have been reported in the past three years. Traffic police analysis cell sources say accidents occur at this spot during peak hours of traffic in the morning and evening.
Similarly, in southern sectors, a large number of accidents are being reported at Kisan Bhawan roundabout in Sector 35. At least four accidents have so far been reported on the spot this year.
Further, seven accidents have been reported at the Sector 39-40 small roundabout in the past three years.
Outer area a mess
Police say these areas are outer roads of the city where buses and cars from other states come in at high speed, unaware or unmindful of the speed limits and the flow of traffic.
Inspector Jaswinder Singh of the UT traffic police says, “After carrying out a detailed study of stretches, a report is prepared and engineering or other changes are recommended. On some roads, amber lights are required, while we need footpaths and cycle tracks on others to segregate traffic.”
Cases in point
Two deaths, and a dead end
A 19-year-old girl, Sukhmani Brar alias Amanat, was booked by the UT police in August 2010 after the car she was driving hit a motorcycle on which 21-year-old Sukhwinder Singh and his six-year-old cousin Harpreet Singh were travelling, leaving both cousins dead. After the accident, Brar had fled the spot and surrendered later. Brar was driving a Honda Accord from Sukhna Lake towards Sector 3, where residences of chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana are located, and had collided head-on with the motorcycle. She was acquitted after the sole eyewitness and complainant in the case turned hostile, making the case fall flat in 2012.
Young armyman’s dream cut short
In August 2011, Captain Ranjot Singh Sandhu along with his friend Ramandeep Singh was among four youths killed after their speeding Tata Safari rammed into a tree near the cricket stadium roundabout on the Sector 22-23 dividing road. Sandhu was commissioned into the Indian Army in July 2010 and was on leave. He was visiting Mohali and staying with his aunt. Ramandeep, resident of Mohali, was a software engineer. Two others who died were Prabhpreet Singh and Abhinet Pal Singh. Prabhkiran Singh sustained a spine fracture, while another man miraculously escaped with bruises.
The Audi-Tavera crash
In July last year, an accident between an Audi luxury car and a Tavera SUV killed three occupants of the latter. The freak accident had occurred as the Audi crossed over the divider on the Sector 17-18 road. In all, four students from Ghaziabad were returning from Dharampur in Himachal Pradesh and were to board a bus from the ISBT-17, which was metres away from the mishap spot. The driver of the Tavera, 34-year-old Hast Bahadur, a resident of Dharampur, along with the two students sitting on the rear seat — Sahil Juneja, 22, and Kuldeep Singh, 19 — died on the spot. Sahil was pursuing BBA, while Kuldeep was an engineering student. The police had initially registered a cross-case against the drivers of both vehicles. It was only after the intervention of the families of victims that the police dropped the case against the deceased Tavera driver. The high court also pulled up the police for poor investigation.
The main reason for accidents in Chandigarh is that, despite so much awareness of traffic rules, motorists violate them. Two-wheeler riders go without helmets, and car drivers speed up and play havoc with the lives of others on main roads. The motorists need to be careful while driving and should not indulge in careless, mindless driving. It’s quite simple.
Pawan Kumar, DSP, traffic, east.
I ride a two-wheeler; and every day it is a task in itself to drive carefully amid the growing traffic. The auto-rickshaw drivers are a big nuisance. They do not care for any kind of traffic rule and drive as they please! The worst thing is that they turn suddenly, without any indicator or hand signal, in the process leaving the other commuters flummoxed and vulnerable.
Jaspreet Singh Kohli, civil engineering student.
Riding a two-wheeler is becoming an arduous task in Chandigarh. SUVs being driven rashly on the roads pose a serious threat. While riding my two-wheeler, I am extra careful when approaching roundabouts that are without traffic lights. Here, sometime motorists do not slow down and end up banging into others. They simply don’t know that speed has to be reduced at these spots!
Dilpreet Kaur, private firm employee.
It is impossible to drive around roundabouts that do not have traffic lights. I fail to understand why the administration does not bring about changes where required to ensure smooth flow of traffic and to check accidents. The Sector 34-35 roundabout on Dakshin Marg is a good example how a once-chaotic chowk is being managed properly now.
Guneet Singh, research scholar.