Pune-Nagar road accidents: Encroachments, lack of dividers are serious safety issues | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Pune-Nagar road accidents: Encroachments, lack of dividers are serious safety issues

The accident on July 2, that took lives of seven techies and injured seven others near Lonikand on Pune-Nagar

pune Updated: Jul 07, 2017 12:49 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
The steep inclination of the road at the accident spot has led to many accidents in the past, said a police official.
The steep inclination of the road at the accident spot has led to many accidents in the past, said a police official.(HT Photo)

The Ahmednagar accident on July 2, that took lives of seven techies and injured seven others near Lonikand on Pune-Ahmednagar road has raised some serious concerns about road safety.

Lonikand is 25-km away from Pune city. Daily huge number of people commute from Tulapur, Lonikand, Koregaon-Bhima, Perane Fata, Theur and Bakori village to Pune city.

When HT visited the accident spot, we noticed large number of encroachments on the Nagar-Pune highway. Also, industries from Ranjanwadi and Sanaswadi, increased number of hotels, roadside markets, all these factors have paved way for more road encroachments on the highway. Considering the number of vehicles and the amount of traffic jams the Pune-Nagar highway should have been an eight-lane road.

The Nagar-Pune road is flooded with traffic while the dividers on the road are not in proper condition thus increasing the chances of accidents. Sarjerao Patil, official from Lonikand police station said, “The steep inclination of the road at the accident spot is very dangerous.” 

“While driving towards Ahmednagar, this particular spot has a steep inclination because of which the vehicle increases its speed. In the bargain the driver loses control over the vehicle just before the corner turn.”

Ajay Patil, a local, said, “While driving towards Ahmednagar, this particular spot has a steep inclination because of which the vehicle increases its speed. In the bargain the driver loses control over the vehicle just before the corner turn.”

Frequent demands from the residents for a speed breaker have also not been taken into consideration. Deepak Shinde, who travels up-down to Pune everyday, said, “Few notice boards on the highway misguide the drivers about what is ahead at night leading to accidents.” Government should look into this matter as early as possible as it could save many lives, he added.

Katkewadi chowk in Wagholi is also facing similar problems. Increasing number of two wheelers passing through the road dividers are also a serious concern. 

Accident prone areas in the city
With road accidents claiming lives of several people across the city everyday, the road transport officials have identified 16 spots as accident prone areas or ‘Black Spots’
  • Pune -Alandi road Maxzin Chowk
  • Dukkar Khind
  • Moshi Jakat Naka
  • Bhumkar Chowk
  • Telco road, Pimpri
  • Khadi Machiine Chowk
  • CME gate (Old Mumbai Pune road)
  • Chandani Chowk
  • Navale bridge (Mumbai - Pune Highway)
  • Wadgaon Bridge
  • Magarpatta (Hadapsar road)
  • Magarpatta main gate
  • Magarpatta road
  • In front of Indira college
  • Nashik Phata Chowk
  • Dominos pizza Magarpatta
Lives lost along the way in Wagholi
  • November 11, 2013 A college student was mowed down by speeding tempo
  • March 24, 2014 Car rams into divider killing a 32-year-old and injuring four others
  • July 15, 2014 Shardul Kulkarni, a 23-year-old, died in a mishap while trying to avoid hitting a dog
  • August 9, 2015 A speeding water tanker ran over father-son duo killed at Panmala, Wagholi
  • January 20, 2016 A student was killed in an accident involving a water tanker
  • May 29, 2016 Casualties in an accident involving a nano car and two-wheeler
  • January 24, 2017 An accident claimed the lives of five persons, including three two wheeler riders

 The Pune-Nagar highway cries for traffic regulation and safety measures. A permanent solution could be sanctioning of the project for a flyover and separate pedestrian pathway. Widening of the road is also an old demand but hurdles in land acquisition, political rivalry and lack of government interest has done no good so far.

Accident survivors recount fateful drive back from Ahmednagar

The tragic accident which killed seven software engineers travelling from Ahmednagar to Pune on Sunday has left a deep scar on the minds of those who survived the unfortunate incident. Some have questioned whether their fate could have been different had they travelled separately instead of booking a minibus for all those attending the same wedding.

On Sunday, July 2, a group of 15 software engineers travelled from Pune to Ahmednagar to be a part of their friend’s wedding.

Their return journey turned out to be a nightmare after a water tanker colliding into their minibus from behind proved to be fatal for those seated on the rear end of the bus. The incident occurred on the Pune-Nagar highway near Wagholi at around 7pm.

“Those sitting close to the driver managed to crawl out of the bus but those at the extreme end suffered the most. The incident has left a deep shock on everybody’s mind.”

Suresh Gaikwad who was admitted to Imax hospital said, “We all did not know each other very well and initially some of us were planning to travel separately. But soon we got to know that we all will be attending the same wedding and hence decided to go together.”

Sharad Sandane stated that even as all the 15 people travelling together were from different companies they knew each other a little and hence had decided to travel together. Sources informed that the accident proved more than disastrous as it also included Vaibhav Mane who was newly married.

Ranjit Kadam who sustained injuries on his hands and legs still remembers the speed at which the tanker came from the opposite. “Those sitting close to the driver managed to crawl out of the bus but those at the extreme end suffered the most. The incident has definitely left a deep shock on everybody’s mind,” Suresh added.

City youth ‘speeding’ to death

Most of the accidents occur due to vehicles speeding on roads thus risking lives of all other commuters. Many such accidents could be averted had the driver controlled the vehicle speed.

In an alarming report by the ministry of road transport and highways, the number of road accident deaths in India has risen again. Majority of these deaths, nearly three-fourths, are caused because of the driver’s fault, a catch-all term that includes speeding, driving on wrong side of the road and not signalling properly.

During 2014, as many as 57,844 deaths, which is 41% of the total, were due to accidents caused by speeding. Speeding has accounted for a similar share in the earlier years as well and has consistently accounted for over 50,000 deaths on roads for the past several years.

AS many as nine road accidents killed three people every 10 minutes in 2015, according to national data, an increase of nine per cent over four years.

According to the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India report released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), road accidents killed 148,000 people in 2015 compared to 136,000 in 2011. Road accidents accounted for 83 per cent of all traffic-related deaths in India and 43 per cent of all accidental deaths in 2015.

Speeding is not just driving above the speed limit, but it includes driving too fast for the road conditions, or any other speed-related violation; charged racing, speed greater than advisable, and exceeding special speed limit. In India speeding is illegal and if violated one will be fined.

(With inputs from Jui Dharwadkar)