5 dead in 5 days: Who's to blame? | delhi | Hindustan Times
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5 dead in 5 days: Who's to blame?

Five people have died in the last five days at the Moolchand underpass because the public works department (PWD) has left the road half fixed.

delhi Updated: Jun 29, 2010 01:35 IST

Five people have died in the last five days at the Moolchand underpass because the public works department (PWD) has left the road half fixed.

A two-inch difference between the old and the newly relaid surface has turned into a deathtrap for two-wheeler drivers because they lose balance when they cross the uneven patch.

Despite the five deaths on the showpiece underpass, there were no signs indicating the danger even as late as 7 p.m. on Monday evening, when HT visited the spot. A sign was being painted at that time.

This despite the death of Keshav Dutt Ojha on Sunday evening, the latest victim of the PWD's callousness.

Ojha was on his way to Faridabad to pick up home-made snacks sent by his wife from Uttarakhand, when his two-wheeler hit the bump, fell over and was crushed by a Blueline bus coming behind him.

He leaves behind a pregnant wife and a two-year-old son.

Police have registered a case of death due to negligence against unknown persons.

"But who is going to compensate for his death?" asked Ojha's friend Nityanand Bhatt.

Even after the five deaths on Delhi's most major thoroughfare, there was no one willing to take responsibility. PWD minister Rajkumar Chauhan said he was unaware of the accidents.

"The accidents are unfortunate but the re-carpeted part is just one or one-and-a-half inch thick. I don't think anyone can lose balance on hitting this bump. But I will still check with my engineers," the minister said.

HT has been reporting the fatalities for the last three days.

PWD's engineer-in-chief Rakesh Mishra, however, said the new layer of road was thicker than usual. "We used a 40 mm layer of bitumen instead of 25 mm because this portion of the Ring Road is very old and uneven," he said.

The underpass was built six years ago. On Sunday, Mishra had told HT that barricades will be put up to warn motorists about the re-carpeting work in progress on that stretch.

The PWD, Delhi's main road building agency is re-carpeting the stretch under its scheme of relaying 450-km road network ahead of the Games.

On Sunday, when HT spoke to Mishra, he had assured that more caution signs and barricades would be put "immediately" to ensure that motorists know of ongoing re-carpeting work. But as this paper found out, that work hadn't been finished even till Monday evening's peak traffic hours.

By that time, the underpass had claimed another life.