UP: In 5 yrs, more than 4,000 died in road mishaps due to potholes
Potholes have new infamy. They have become one of the major causes of deaths in road accidents in Uttar Pradesh, giving the opposition parties another issue to pin the government ahead of the general election next year.Updated: Oct 25, 2018 15:31 IST
Potholes have new infamy. They have become one of the major causes of deaths in road accidents in Uttar Pradesh, giving the opposition parties another issue to pin the government ahead of the general election next year.
Already, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice-president Jayant Chaudhary has taken the lead and announced a ‘selfie with potholes’ campaign against the Yogi Adityanath government last fortnight.
According to a report submitted to the Supreme Court’s Committee on Road Safety by the Uttar Pradesh transport department, 4,415 persons died in road accidents occurring due to potholes, between 2013 and 2017.
“Of the 89,401 persons who died in road accidents in the state between 2013 and 2017, as many as 4,415 persons were killed due to potholes alone, which is 4.93% of the total number of road mishap deaths,” a senior transport official, who did not wish to be named, said.
UP, he said, accounted for the largest number of road accidents as well as deaths due to mishaps caused by potholes in the country.
The apex court’s committee had expressed shock over the staggering number of deaths due to potholes in UP at a meeting called by it last month in Delhi to monitor road safety measures by various states.
The committee has convened its next meeting on October 29 to know what steps have been taken by UP to remove potholes.
The Public Works Department (PWD), however, has questioned the correctness of the number of pothole deaths reported by the police/traffic department to the committee.
“Personally, I doubt the authenticity of the source that puts the number of deaths due to potholes at more than 4,000 during last five years,” PWD engineer-in-chief VK Singh said. “But we will explain to the Road Safety Committee the measures we are taking to remove potholes,” he hastened to add.
The traffic department analyses road accidents in keeping with a format finalised by the Union ministry of transport and highways and this requires it to examine and enumerate road condition including potholes, curves, blind spots, etc as reasons for mishaps every year.
In UP, as Singh admitted, of the 2.30 lakh km of total roads, 55,000 km abound in potholes at present. “We have launched a fresh drive to make all the roads pothole-free within one month,” Singh said.
Potholes have been on the opposition’s target in UP since the Yogi Adityanath government announced its intention of freeing roads of potholes within 100 days after it came to power. The target, however, was not achieved, inviting attacks from the opposition.
RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhary even launched a ‘selfie with gaddha’ campaign trying to highlight the ‘poor’ conditions of roads in UP.
The occurrence, recurrence and removal of potholes, according to Singh, is a perpetual process. “Potholes on roads keep on surfacing especially after heavy rains and we keep repairing roads,” he said.
“The number of road accidents is increasing not because of potholes but due to improving condition of roads that allow people to speed and we have to make collective efforts from this point of view,” he pointed out.