Although authorities remain unmoved despite high number of pedestrian deaths on NH-8, resident welfare associations (RWAs) are taking up the cudgels to make city roads safer.
The Joint Action Forum of RWAs (Jafra), that claims to have membership of more than 100 RWAs and panchayat bodies in Gurgaon, has decided to shift its focus and press government authorities such as National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to set up facilities such as underpasses and subways on the Gurgaon Expressway, particularly the Rajiv Chowk-Kherki Daula toll plaza stretch. Around 52 people, including 36 pedestrians, lost their lives on the road.
Jafra chairman Col Ratan Singh said, “After learning about the high number of accident deaths on the national highway, we have decided to shift our focus. Our efforts will now be directed towards ensuring safety of people living on both sides of the expressway. A 10-km stretch has just one footover bridge that was inaugurated recently. Locals are the worst affected as they have no facilities.”
Singh, who is also the co-chairman of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti that has been pressing for removal of the toll plaza on the expressway, hinted at a “difference of opinion” within the organisation.
He admitted that the Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti focused more on removal of the Delhi border toll plaza rather than improving of services and Jafra did not subscribe to their concern completely.
“On January 2, when Jafra organised a demonstration at Kherki Daula toll plaza, the samiti did not have any representation. There seems to be a difference of opinion,” he said.
Hindustan Times had initiated a campaign in 2008 and 2009 when it had highlighted the plight of pedestrians and rising number of casualties.
Following HT reports, the NHAI and Haryana government had agreed to erect fencing on the median of the entire expressway and also set up five more FOBs. Till date, only three have so far been constructed.
Though Atar Singh Sindhu, secretary, Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti, refused to admit any cracks but said Jafra was misleading people. “Jafra members do not attend our meetings. It does not matter much as they do not enjoy too much support.”