Nuh villagers protest, demand widening of ‘killer highway’
Around 300 villagers have been protesting in Nuh since Wednesday seeking the widening of Gurugram-Alwar national highway (NH248A), which passes through the district and has been christened the ‘khooni highway’ because of its high accident and fatality rate. In the last six years, according to the police, 1,300 people have died on the stretch between Nuh and Alwar in more than 2,600 accidents.
The protesters have demanded that the two-lane road, which is a part of NH248A, be made six lanes wide between Nuh and Alwar in Rajasthan. Villagers said that though the foundation stone for widening the road was laid on November 3, 2008, the work is yet to start.
According to the locals, Nuh is home to a large number of commercial drivers as most young men in the area are pursuing heavy vehicle driving as a profession. The local police said that most of these drivers park their vehicles, fully loaded or empty, on the main Alwar-Gurugram road, and as a result of this accidents take place quite frequently.
Nuh superintendent of police Sangeeta Kalia said that heavy movement of commercial vehicles, particularly those carrying crushed stone and other construction materials is the reason for frequent accidents on this road. “Nearly 1,300 people have died on this stretch between Nuh and Alwar since 2013. This year, 248 fatal accidents have already been reported. Many drivers of Nuh ply to the farthest corners of the country and visit their homes while returning. They tend to park their loaded or unloaded trucks on the highway; speeding vehicles collide with these stationary vehicles,” she said.
The traffic on this road is also heavy as Alwar in Rajasthan and Nuh in Haryana have cultural and economic ties across the border, said locals who plan to continue to gather at Badkali Chowk in Nagina for a silent protest till their demands are met. The villagers are also demanding that the government set up a trauma care centre here in view of the growing number of road accidents and deaths.
The protest is being led by Mewat RTI Manch and is being supported by Mewat Sanyukt Sangarsh Samiti, which is a group of organisations based in Nuh and Firozepur Jhirka, among other areas.
Mewat RTI Manch convenor Rajuddin Meo said that people from across Nuh, including 32 villages, are participating in the protest. “We have named it khooni (blood-stained) highway as it has taken so many lives. On an average, four accidents are reported on this stretch every day. The road is four lanes wide until Nuh, which is connected to Gurugram, but ahead it is a single lane road and congested. This leads to traffic congestion and accidents. It was a state highway when the foundation stone was laid by the government in 2008, but was declared as a national highway in 2014,” he said.
Out of 440 villages of this district, 18 main villages are located on the Highway.
An official of the National Highways Authority of India, who is privy to the matter, said it was decided in June this year that this road would be maintained the by Haryana PWD department.
Haryana PWD Minister Rao Narbir Singh said they will float tenders after the state elections are over and the widening project will begin soon after. “This project is our priority and the inspection report has already been submitted. The work will be started after the tenders are allotted,” he said.
Rahish Khan, BJP MLA from Punhana in Nuh, said that a trauma centre is also in the pipeline as the injured have to be referred to Delhi or Gurugram due to lack of facilities at the local medical college. “We have planned to improve the medical facility and a trauma centre will soon be constructed for which we have received the approval. Last government only promised, but never delivered or even though of any development in the area,” he said.
Reasons for accidents
Trucks parked along the highway
Dumpers with construction material are driven rashly
Untrained drivers driving heavy vehicles
Less police deployment
No zebra crossing/pedestrian movement facility
Nuh police are placing reflective cones at a distance of every 100 meters on the 60-km stretch of the highway
They are also pasting reflective tape and triangles on the vehicles that are left parked on the road
Six PCR vans have been deployed on the highway; each van covers one stretch of 10km
These vehicles are manned by 24 trained police personnel