The death stretch | india | Hindustan Times
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The death stretch

The Gurgaon Expressway has killed 42 people this year. Hindustan Times finds why this road has turned into a deathway.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2008 23:40 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

Speeding on National Highway 8 between Delhi and Jaipur, especially on the Gurgaon stretch, continues unabated, despite the Haryana Police’s claim that it has a firm grip on the situation.

In Gurgaon alone, as many as 244 people have died in accidents since 2003. And 42 people have already been killed so far this year on the stretch.

Although the speed limits have been set for expressways at 90 kmph and for national highways at 80 kmph, speeding over 100 kmph in Gurgaon is a common occurrence. So much so that teenage bikers have been using the Gurgaon stretch as their personal speed track, speeding to the extent of over 200 kmph. But the police got to know of them only when a biker crashed on to a truck at the South City crossing.

Police inactive, ill equipped

Ironically, the traffic wing of the Gurgaon police have not booked even a single over-speeding vehicle since the expressway was opened on February 23. The police have just one speed-gun and an alcohol-meter, which have never been used, while 31 people have died on this stretch since February.

Samir Bajaj, an employee of a multinational IT company in Gurgaon, drives down to his office from his Vasant Kunj residence every day. He said, “I have seen BPO cabs and other vehicles, including buses, drop passengers right in the middle of fast-moving traffic. But I have never seen a policeman or a traffic marshal pull up these vehicles.”

Pass-on-the-buck game
The police and the corridor management company, DS Constructions (DSC), happily pass the buck on to each other “We have deputed traffic marshals all along the stretch, but commuters and pedestrians hardly pay any heed to traffic instructions.

Since we don’t have policing power, the onus lies with the state police,” said Vandana Dheer, spokesperson for DSC.

Dheer said the Haryana police have agreed to set up a post at the Delhi-Gurgaon border toll plaza. “Commuters obey only when instructions come from men in khaki. In 7-8 days, we would have a full-fledged police post under an SHO-rank officer.
We expect the situation to improve,” she added.

SK Gupta, DCP (traffic and crime) of the Gurgaon police, claimed that his department would book any over-speeding vehicle on the expressway. But he could not say how many motorists have so far been booked for rash or negligent driving.

He said, “Accidents happen mostly because of driving errors. We would launch a fresh offensive against over-speeding and drink driving. I have asked both the police stations at the Hero-Honda Chowk and the Bilaspur crossing to get tough.”