Criminals may be having a field day in the Millennium City but the city’s roads have turned out to be the bigger killers. Sample this: 158 people have been killed and 340 injured in 380 accidents in the first five months of this year against 39 murders in the same period.
The numbers speak volumes about road safety standards in the IT hub.
Over the last few years, hundreds of people have lost their lives to road accidents.
There has been a 50% rise in fatalities in the last two years. While around 250 people died on Gurgaon’s roads in 2011 and 2012, the toll has already crossed 158 this year.
There has also been a sharp spurt in the number of non-fatal accidents. While 211 cases were reported in 2011, there has been a 20% jump this year with 234 cases.
Lack of facilities, manpower shortage and poor infrastructure are some of the reasons behind the sorry state of affairs.
“Poor traffic management and the lack of police presence have led to a rise in the number of accidents. The city’s infrastructure lags way behind what its citizens need. The roads are a bane for pedestrians and cyclists. The lack of crossover facilities, zebra crossings, cycle ramps and pavements is another problem. Open ditches are also a major hazard for pedestrians,” said VD Maheshwari, a resident of Gurgaon.
In a city like Gurgaon, which boasts of a number of fast and signal-free expressways and where vehicles are driven at an average speed of 100 kmph despite the 80kmph limit, motorists are often caught ignoring safety norms and gears like seatbelts and helmets.
Apart from the traffic police department, the civic agencies are equally responsible for the high number of road fatalities as they have failed to provide adequate crossover facilities such as footover bridges, subways and underpasses on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway stretches.
While traffic management needs to be streamlined in a better manner, civic bodies such as the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and Public Works Department (PWD) have to work on widening roads to support the ever-increasing volume of traffic and providing required crossover facilities at major intersections.
Ironically, Gurgaon has wide expressways for high-end luxury cars from across the world but it does not have pavements for its citizens.
The city has witnessed almost 50% rise in cases where pedestrians are involved in mishaps since 2011.
Though authorities claim to have constructed more than 40km of pedestrian walkways, it is not enough for Gurgaon.
“We have tried to cope with traffic problems by bettering our road network. We have been working with the police to identify problem areas and have built several kilometres of slip and arterial roads,” claimed Huda administrator Praveen Kumar.
Shortage of police personnel is also a hurdle.
A Huda official claimed that the traffic police department needs 800-1000 officials but they have to manage with less than 300.
Joint commissioner of police Maheshwar Dayal admitted to working with skeletal staff.
“At present, we are short-staffed and have only 290 police personnel on traffic duty which I agree is on the lower side. We have tried to regulate traffic in the city by removing a number of roundabouts and cracking down on drunk driving. We have also introduced a system of clamping tyres of illegally parked vehicles, an example that Delhi is now emulating,” he said.