Even as the kin of Mohit Khanna (34) — who died in a freak road accident on the elevated road on Sunday — are awaiting the arrest of the accused truck driver, who had parked his punctured vehicle in the middle of the boulevard, the traffic police have passed the buck on the Amritsar Municipal Corporation for the inadequate lighting arrangements on the deadly stretch.
The civic body, on the other hand, has held commuters responsible for cruising at high speed on the road.
Perched on 17.2-metre-wide single pier, the road, the third of-its-kind in India, was constructed to benefit tourists and pilgrims visiting important places in the city, including the Durgiana Temple, Jallianwala Bagh and Wagha Border.
But far from serving its purpose, the road has emerged into a death zone with commuters losing their lives in road accidents.
Deceased Khanna, resident of Gali Jattan Wali, was killed when his two-wheeler rammed into a truck that broke down in the middle of the road. He was returning home from work when the incident took place.
Sub-inspector Ramesh Chander, who oversees traffic management on the elevated road, attributed the accident and the resultant death to poor visibility triggered by inadequate lighting on the road.
“Deceased Khanna could not see the truck parked in the middle of the road due to inadequate lighting. He rammed into the stationary vehicle, resulting in a fatal collision,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the MC to ensure proper lighting along the ambitious passage, which is chock-a-block with a large number of vehicles daily,” added Chander.
Gaurav Khanna, brother-in-law of deceased Khanna, said the accident took place due to traffic mismanagement and the lackadaisical attitude of the traffic police authorities.
“Usually the police don’t allow small vehicles to halt for a brief period. But in this case, a truck was parked in the middle of the road for several hours. Nobody bothered to remove it,” he said.
Gaurav said the police had not arrested the accused truck driver till now, besides the traffic police and the MC had not initiated any measures post the incident.
“Proper monitoring of traffic on the road is required. Signboards should also be installed along the boulevard,” added Gaurav.
Similarly, in September, 28-year-old Harsh Kumar, resident of Quilla Bhangian, died after accidentally falling off the elevated road.
Mystery shrouded Kumar’s death, who died of a head injury caused by the fall. No suicide note was recovered from him.
In July 2010, Krishan Kumar, a senior citizen, and resident of Fatehgarh Churian Road, died after his motorcycle rammed into a truck on the elevated road. His grandson was riding pillion.
The accidents have been attributed partially to driving at high speed and partly to the road’s design, which includes a recharging well for rainwater harvesting, in the middle of the incline that descends towards the AlphaOne side.
Every time the city receives rainfall, the spot gets waterlogged.
Sources said vehicles proceeding towards the Jalandhar side, along this road, travel at high speed and have to apply brakes suddenly on being confronted by a huge puddle on a rainy day.
This often causes accidents, with vehicles at the back finding it hard to negotiate the puddle and the unexpectedly slowing down of the vehicle in the front.
The incline of the elevated road, according to residents, looks more like the descent of a rollercoaster and is quite steep, which makes it hard for the commuters to negotiate.
Municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda said, “Commuters should not drive at high speed.”
The Elevated Road: 17.2-metre-wide single pier (third of its kind in India)
Length: 4.2 km
Cost: `210 crore
Accidents: Have been occurring quite frequently. Four persons have been killed
Problem areas: Waterlogging, traffic mismanagement, over-speeding, rainwater harvesting system