Nitish Sharma ,27, of Dilbagh Nagar extension, was the only breadwinner of his family after the death of his father. But destiny had planned something else as a cruel road mishap snatched Sharma’s life in Mehli village of SBS Nagar district situated on Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway. Sharma was driving SUV when his car collided with a truck on December 27, 2014. Nitish’s is not the only case, so far a total of 175 persons have lost lives in last 26 months on this 73 km killer stretch starting from Mehli to Asron village of the district.
The stretch is part of the four-lane project, initiated by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) recently.
The government has so far shown inability to stop the mishaps. The details procured from the district police reveal that the death toll has increased in the past years consistently. In 2015, 73 persons died in 85 road mishaps and 132 sustained injuries. In 2016, 83 lives were lost in 88 accidents and 66 injured.
In the last two months of this year, 19 persons have already been killed in 15 road accidents on this road and 14 injured. The reasons of accidents are attributed to rash driving, overloading, lack of driving experience, drunken driving, inadequate road safety measures by the district administration among other reasons. Further, the flow of traffic on the busy stretch has increased multiple times in the last five years but the widening project has remained a paper tiger in the 10-year regime of the past Akali-BJP government.
Rattan Kumar Jain, a local activist, claimed that the widening and bypass roads are only options to reduce the flow of traffic on the stretch besides constant watch by cops.
Newly elected Nawanshahr Congress MLA Angad Singh Saini said, “The stretch is one of worst in the matters of road mishaps and I will highlight the issue before the government so that lives can be saved.” He told HT that his government has already set up a Punjab Road Safety Authority to study the causes of the mishaps and steps will be taken accordingly.