Killer highway creates village of widows in Telangana | india | Hindustan Times
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Killer highway creates village of widows in Telangana

One highway running through a village in the southern state of Telangana has gained a dire reputation, blamed for the deaths of scores trying to cross it.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2015 13:40 IST
Tribal students cross National Highway 44 to go to school in the village of Peddakunta, some 56 kilometers from Hyderabad.
Tribal students cross National Highway 44 to go to school in the village of Peddakunta, some 56 kilometers from Hyderabad. (AFP)

For developing India, dangerous and potholed roads have long been a way of life.

But one highway running through a village in the southern state of Telangana has gained a dire reputation, blamed for the deaths of scores trying to cross it.

A bypass road of national highway 44 snakes through Peddakunta village, cutting off the community from its headquarters on the other side.

Lambadi tribal students and villagers cross National Highway 44 in the village of Peddakunta. (AFP)

Since the road was built in 2006, Peddakunta has been dubbed the “village of highway widows” with only one male
adult left among the huts of 35 families. The rest of the village comprises women, children and the elderly.



Lambadi tribals gather in the village of Peddakunta, some 56 kilometers from Hyderabad. (AFP)

Some 25 male residents have been killed in Peddakunta trying to reach the other side, locals say.

Lambadi tribal child K Jagan (R), who lost his father in a road accident, sits with his mother K Mangi at their home in the village of Peddakunta. (AFP)

“My husband died in a bypass road accident and so did my brother and my father. There are no men to look after us in the family,” Kurra Asli, 23, told AFP, holding up a faded photograph of her husband.

Widow Kurra Sakri, who lost her husband in a road accident, stands in front of her home in the village of Peddakunta. (AFP)

Another widow held up a black and white printout of her dead husband, his body laying on the bypass, his left foot crushed.

Tribal widow K Panna shows a picture of her husband after his death in a road accident. (AFP)

Locals have demanded a foot bridge or tunnel so they can safely cross the four-lane stretch to reach the headquarters to collect monthly pensions or find employment in other villages.

But widows say their demands have been ignored.

Tribal widow P Lalitha (2nd L), who lost her husband in a road accident, sits along with her children. (AFP)

“No one will help us. Everyone will come, take photos and videos and go off,” said K. Maani, 38, as she cooked over a stove made of mud.

Lambadi tribal widow K Vijaya, who lost her husband in a road accident, prepares food at her home. (AFP)

“I do not have a gas stove or even a bathroom, no one is there to help us,” said the mother of three.

Tribal child P Chitti, who lost her father in a road accident, sits at her home in the village of Peddakunta. (AFP)
Lambadi tribal child K Sravanthi, who lost her father in a road accident, braids the hair of her grandmother at her home. (AFP)
Lambadi tribal widow woman K Rukka, who lost her husband in a road accident, brushes her teeth with a neem stick. (AFP)

India has some of the world’s deadliest roads with more than 230,000 fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Transport analysts attribute the huge number of accidents to poor roads, ill-trained drivers and reckless driving.

The national government has put forward proposals for new legislation to make roads safer by stiffening lax traffic regulations.