Accidents continue to rise, but Delhi ‘black spots’ remain unchanged for 10 years
The public works department officials said that the coming of the Road Safety Policy that is in the pipeline will come up with tailor-made solutions for these accident prone zones.delhi Updated: Jun 11, 2018 10:53 IST
The loss of 86 lives and more than 130 serious injuries over the last year have not been enough to galvanise the Delhi government, the traffic police, civic bodies, and other agencies in the national Capital to fix the problems that make 10 ‘black spots’ the most accident-prone areas in the city.
Even as accidents continue to rise on the stretch -- the number of fatalities have gone up from 52 in 2016, according to police data presented this March in the assembly -- these 10 spots continue to feature in the list of 137 dangerous zones for over 10 years now.
The 10 spots, in order of accidents reported, are Mukundpur Chowk (26), Burari Chowk (23), Jahangirpuri Bus stand, Azadpur Chowk , Delhi Gate (19 each), Bhalswa Chowk (15), followed by Britannia Chowk, Siraspur and Shahdara Flyover (13 each) and Shani Mandir Chowk on National Highway-1 (9) . Ten lives were lost at Mukundpur Chowk in 2017, making it the most dangerous traffic intersection in the city.
Black spots are locations that record three or more fatal or more 10 non-fatal accidents in a year.
Eight out of the top 10 ‘black spots’ fall under the jurisdiction of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, while the remaining two comes under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
When contacted, senior municipal corporation officials said it was up to the PWD, which comes under the Delhi government, and the Delhi Traffic Police to ensure the problems are fixed.
“Our work is limited to conducting repair work on these stretches. The construction and the enforcement of traffic rules is the responsibility of the PWD and the police,” a senior municipal official said.
Joint commissioner of police (traffic) Garima Bhatnagar said that accidents are caused by two major reasons--faulty road design or the fault of drivers and other road users.
“We have deployed additional force on the most problematic stretches. However, better enforcement can only bring down those accidents where someone is at fault. A comprehensive road safety plan will surely help bring down such accidents,” Bhatnagar said.
The PWD officials said that the coming of the Road Safety Policy that is in the pipeline, will come up with tailor-made solutions for these accident prone zones.
“We are inspecting each of these black spots and the alterations that need to be made are being noted,” a senior PWD official said.
The problem, road safety experts said, was that some of the issues were glaring, and that nothing was being done even though the authorities are well aware of how they could be fixed.
“At Mukundpur chowk, the commuters coming from the Arihant Marg do not have enough road curvature to smoothly join the main road, which is a reason for most crashes,” said Aniruddha Prajapati, road engineering and safety researcher at IIT-Delhi.
◼ List prepared every year by Delhi Traffic Police and sent to road owning agencies, but no action
◼ An overwhelming majority of these accident zones are around north Delhi
◼ Areas like Mukundpur Chowk, Burari, Azardpur, Peeragarhi, Britannia Chowk and Bhalswa Chowk continue to retain their positions in list for the last 10 years. These areas have all featured on the top of the list repeatedly
At Azadpur, experts said, there was not enough gap between the lights changing from green red, often leading to commuters getting stuck in the middle of the intersection. “If the commuter crosses the signal on green, there is a possibility of them being caught in the middle of the intersection with no warning blinkers,” Prajapati said.
The multiplicity of agencies that undertake construction and repair these spots -- making them no one body’s responsibility -- further complicates matters.
On several of these stretches under the north Delhi corporation, footpaths were found to be cracked, drains were open and the desilting was overdue, which makes road safety a hazard particularly during the monsoon because it shrinks the motorable space.
Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that a total of 1,584 people were killed in 6,673 road accidents in the city in 2017. He said that said the government had last year decided to come up with a road safety policy and its draft has been sent to stakeholders inviting suggestions.
But, experts say, even as paperwork continues, nothing is being done on the ground to make driving in Delhi safer.