Transport dept probe blames narrow road for Kannauj bus accidentUpdated: Jan 18, 2020 19:55 IST
The transport department’s probe into the Kannauj bus-truck collusion has sought to put the blame on the narrowness of the GT Road.
The report alleged the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) did not provide the width of the road as per specifications despite the portion of the highway, where the mishap happened, having already been declared a ‘black spot’ (accident prone area).
At least 10 people were charred to death and many others injured after the ill-fated private double-decker bus turned into a firewall after colliding with a speeding truck on GT Road near Chhbramau in Kannauj district on January 10 night. The bodies were being identified with the help of DNA matching.
The probe committee led by zonal deputy transport commissioner, Agra, JS Kushwaha, submitted its report to transport commissioner Dheeraj Sahu for further action.
“Yes, we have got the report and are examining the same,” Sahu said but he did not divulge the findings. He is learnt to have forwarded the report to the government for consideration.
Sources dealing with the issue said the probe committee had, in its report, said that that low visibility resulting from the dense fog blurring the drivers’ vision was primarily responsible for the two vehicles coming from opposing directions colliding. The collision, the committee suggested, could have been averted had the road not been narrow.
“The committee, during its probe, found that the width of the road, where the accident occurred was not more than seven metres and the road had no shoulders (footpaths) on either side because of which the vehicles did not find space for emergency halt or keeping themselves at a safe distance while crossing,” sources revealed. The two-way highway’s width, the committee said, should not be less than 13 metres.
An NHAI official confirmed that as per the Indian Road Congress-73, the total width of a double-way road should be 13 metres and not less.
“As per the specifications laid down by the Indian Road Congress-73, the double road’s width of the painted area should not be less than seven metres with 2.50 metre wide shoulders on both the sides, the total width not being less than 13 metres,” the official told HT over the phone from Delhi.
“The shoulders that is the ‘kaccha’ area on the sides of the road should not have trees, plants etc that could hamper the movement of emergency traffic,” he added.
He said while he could not comment on the cause of the accident, the possibility of the highway not having shoulders could not be ruled out given the fact there was a lot of encroachment on highways at many places.
The committee, according to sources, had pointed out that the road where the mishap happened fell under the accident prone area identified as ‘black spot’ and a board indicating the same was also put up there. “But the NHAI does not seem to have taken measures to remove the engineering defects from the road,” the committee is said to have mentioned in its report.
The probe panel has also found the ill-fated bus guilty of flouting permit conditions, besides other safety norms.
The transport bosses are, however, underplaying this aspect.
“The bus was certainly flouting the terms and conditions of the contact carriage permit granted to it but the illegal bus operation, per se, is not the cause of the accident,” they argued.
Sources said the buck would stop at high levels if the transport department admitted that the flouting permit norms by the bus had anything to do with the accident.