Mumbai sees 3rd pothole death in a month; blame game starts
With the death of five-year-old Vedant Vikram Das on Thursday, the number of casualties from accidents caused by potholes and bad roads has risen to three in less than a month. Two of these were in Thane city.
The three accidents that have claimed lives have raised questions about the work done by Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The first took place in Mumbra on July 17, killing a 46-year-old woman, riding pillion, who fell off the bike when her husband skidded over a pothole. On August 6, a traffic cop fell to his death in Ambernath while trying to avoid potholes. On Thursday, Das fell and was run over by a tempo after his father skidded over a pothole on Ghodbunder Road.
However, the MSRDC maintained Das’s death was not due to the condition of Ghodbunder Road. Anilkumar Gaikwad, joint managing director of the MSRDC, said, “It does not seem like a pothole death. His bike skidded leading to the accident. We are filling the potholes across Ghodbunder Road using cold mix and paver blocks in monsoon. When we get a dry spell we will fill them with hot mix which is more durable.”
Following Das’s death, the police arrested the tempo driver for rash and negligent driving. The police case said the accident took place due to an “uneven patch of road.”
Ravindra Khadtale, city engineer of TMC, placed the blame on MSRDC. “The road where the accident took place is not our road but MSRDC road. It is true that the commissioner had asked to fill potholes across the city and we are repairing them wherever possible,” he said.
Urban policy researcher Mayuresh Bhadsavle blamed lack of coordination between authorities for the poor condition of roads. “There is no single road standard guideline followed by these authorities. Moreover, each tries to blame the other for the road’s condition. There are many such accidents like the Ghodbunder Road accident, wherein cement road is made by one authority while the asphalt road by another, without any coordination between each other,” he said.
Bhadsavle said there should be a maintenance code that would necessarily followed for all road construction and repair works. “The sub-standard or poor construction, especially in areas like Mumbra and Kalwa, is also a major reason for potholes. The contractors are chosen with vested interests and the road works suffer. Another reason is the plying of heavy vehicles on service roads and internal city roads which further deteriorates the road,” said Bhadsavle.
Two days ago, Thane-based non-governmental organisation Jaag had staged protests to highlight the issue of bad roads across the city. Milind Gaikwad, a member of Jaag, suggested the civic body be put in charge of roads. “The road can be developed by any authority. However they can hand over the roads to the TMC for maintenance. The state can give the revenue to the corporation for maintenance. This will resolve the coordination confusion between different authorities,” he said. Gaikwad also criticised the repair work done on roads. “The potholes are fixed in a hurry, there is no scientific process for the work,” he said, adding that guidelines aren’t followed to ensure the repair work is properly carried out.
At least two persons died and several others injured after clashes between groups over an interfaith couple in Hulihyder village of Koppal district in Bengaluru on Thursday. Venkappa (60) and Basha (22) died in the clashes and at least four more were injured as the two groups, armed with sticks and weapons, assaulted each other. The police said two groups clashed as simmering tensions boiled over on Thursday.
The Karnataka High Court has held that married daughters are entitled for compensation by insurance companies on the loss of their parents in accidents. The HC single judge bench of Justice H P Sandesh heard an appeal filed by an insurance company challenging the award of compensation to married daughters of one Renuka (aged 57) who was killed in an accident on April 12, 2012 near Yamanur, Hubballi, in north Karnataka.
The Delhi Commission for Women on Thursday asked the city police to submit a complete report by August 14 on the action taken on a rape complaint by three girls studying in a Delhi government school. The commission also asked police to confirm that the three minor girls were produced before the child welfare committee as required by law, and a copy of the order issued by the committee.
In the first Cabinet meeting after taking oath on Wednesday, chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy, Tejashwi Yadav, decided to convene the Bihar assembly session on August 24 to seek trust vote. The session was delayed as speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha refused to quit and promoted ruling alliance to move a no-confidence motion. Former speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary said it will be taken first on the day the House convenes.
Two young men were stabbed during a Muharram procession at the Mallasamudra village in Karnataka's Gadag on Tuesday, according to reports. The injured have been identified as Tousif Hosamani and Mushtaq Hosamani. One of the two young men is battling for his life. Both are being treated at the Gadag Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital. Police have registered a case against six men in the incident.