The death of a 24-year-old scooterist on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway near Signature Tower on Saturday is a grim reminder of the need to restrict two-wheelers on the 27-km freeway, which has become notorious for fatal accidents.
As per the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), two-wheelers and autorickshaws are not allowed on the freeway, but lack of enforcement of the rule has been leading to frequent accidents.
In the aftermath of the accident on Saturday, Gurgaon police commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk said an awareness drive will be launched to sensitise two-wheeler drivers and stop them from using the expressway. However, it is still unclear when the drive will be launched as the police are handicapped by manpower shortage.
“We are planning to launch an awareness drive soon. But enforcement on this busy stretch is difficult,” Virk told HT.
The Gurgaon traffic police has only 183 personnel, against a sanctioned strength of 350 men. It is because of this reason that many traffic violations such as poor lane discipline, speeding, illegal parking on service lanes, drink driving and two-wheelers plying on the expressway is overlooked.
The high number of speeding cases has made the expressway one of the most dangerous stretches in the country. Police data also paints a very grim picture -- 92 accidents took place on the expressway 2012 and 145 in 2013. In 2014, the number of accidents was 104 and till November 2015, the number was close to 100.
The NHAI, which owns the expressway and also has the policing authority for the road, has handed over the responsibility to the Gurgaon police, which are handicapped due to shortage of resources. Ashok Sharma, project director, NHAI, said it was not possible for his officers to enforce traffic rules and this is the reason the authority to fine people was given to the police. This circumstances, however, has led to a situation where neither the police nor NHAI is enforcing traffic rules on the expressway, causing frequent deaths of bikers.
Aakash Singh, who lost his life on Saturday, was on a business trip to the city when he met with the accident. Not only Singh, but another Gurgaon resident Ram Ahore also lost his life on Saturday after being hit by a scooter behind the Ambience mall on Friday. Ahore succumbed to his head injuries at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. He was hit by an Activa, whose driver fled the scene.