Residents of Ambai village in Palghar district’s Wada on Sunday blocked the Wada-Bhiwandi highway for two hours after two youths died in an accident on the pothole-ridden road on Saturday night. The relatives of the deceased led the protest and the traffic was opened only when they got an assurance that Wada police will launch an inquiry into the matter.
Three youths were on a bike, which was hit by tempo after their bike got stuck in a pothole and wasn’t visible due to no streetlights. Two of them — Amit Savra, 22, and Nitin Sambre, 23 — died on the spot near Ambai village, while Samir Pandre got injured and was admitted in Wada government hospital for treatment. A case of death due to negligence has been registered against unidentified people by the Wada police.
The Sunday accident was the third such accident in a week on the Wada- Bhiwandi highway, which witnessed heavy traffic as Bhiwandi and Wada are two busy industrial hubs in the district.
Fast unto death
Meanwhile, a social activist Nilesh Sambre, from Wada decided to undertake a fast unto death from Monday before the Palghar Collectorate to protest against the bad roads and demand for a CBI inquiry against the road construction firm. As per an RTI query by the activist, there have been 140 deaths reported on the 65-km stretch in the past three years and more than 1,500 motorists were injured during the period.
“This stretch of the highway was constructed in 2013 by the Supreme Infrastructure India Limited, Powai at a cost of Rs380 crore and there is rampant corruption in its construction,” said Sambre.
The road contract has been awarded to the firm on BOT (Built, Operate and Transfer) method and nearly a 35-km stretch is yet to be constructed despite it being the most dangerous spot, the activist said while adding that out of four bridges on the highway, at least two over the rivers Pinjal and Deherja are incomplete.
“There are two toll plazas on the highway and since March 1, 2013, the construction firm has been charging motorists a minimum of Rs60 (for LMVs) to Rs200 (for HMVs) for one-way travel. What is the use of the huge toll collection when the killer roads are in a bad state and are taking so many lives? Hence, I have also asked the Collector to cancel the toll collection until the highway is repaired,” said Sambre.