Potholes reflect govt neglect towards public safety | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Potholes reflect govt neglect towards public safety

The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 must be passed at the earliest and contractors and civic agencies must be held accountable for bad roads and potholes. In the meantime, governments must spring into action so that no life is lost

editorials Updated: Jul 05, 2017 00:18 IST
Potholes at Sion Panvel highway near Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, June 29 (Bachchan Kumar/HT)
Potholes at Sion Panvel highway near Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, June 29 (Bachchan Kumar/HT)

Come Monsoon and roads across India become pothole-ridden death traps. On Monday, a teenager in Mumbai’s Bhiwandi lost his life after he fell from his bike while trying to avoid a pothole. The report of a teenager filling potholes in a road in Hyderabad with stones and gravel is a poignant one. What forced this boy to do the work meant to be done by the government is the death of three members of a family, who fell from a bike on the pothole-ridden road. Among the three was a six-month-old.

Sadly, most roads across the country are nothing to be proud about. So inferior is the quality of construction that often once it rains it’s hard to tell the difference between the road and a drain (that is if there is one at all).

What is startling here is that the remorse the teenager has for the loss of life is missing from the authorities and governments. Reports suggest that till May more than 300 people have died in Hyderabad alone — that’s a staggering two road deaths every day. Imagine the number of fatalities across India.

Monsoons and the accompanying water-logging is an annual feature. Rather than preparing in advance by clearing drainage lines and repairing roads wherever required, authorities spring into action once the rains have wreaked havoc. It is this attitude what makes the neglect towards protecting the lives of citizens an unpardonable lapse.

This must change, and change now. The suggestion in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 that contractors and civic agencies must be held accountable for bad roads and potholes is encouraging. The bill was passed in April in the Lok Sabha and awaits clearance from the upper house. In the meantime, governments must get their act right and ensure that no more lives are lost in this manner.