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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Kamothe accident: Locals want footpaths cleared, demand fair probe into crash

Residents say footpaths are encroached upon by illegal hawkers

mumbai Updated: Jul 25, 2019 00:28 IST
Padmja Sinha
Padmja Sinha
Hindustan Times
The accident spot at Sector-6A in Kamothe, where a speeding car mowed down a seven-year-old boy and a 32-year-old man on Sunday.
The accident spot at Sector-6A in Kamothe, where a speeding car mowed down a seven-year-old boy and a 32-year-old man on Sunday.(Hindustan Times)
         

Residents of Kamothe have demanded encroachment-free footpaths to walk on, two days after a speeding car mowed down a seven-year-old boy and a 32-year-old man at Sector 6A besides injuring four others.

Amol Shitole, the president of the citizens’ group Ekta Samajik Sanstha, said freeing up footpaths will encourage people to avoid walking on the roads and avert unpredictable accidents, such as the one that happened on Sunday.

“The accident has highlighted the need to free footpaths, which are mostly encroached upon by illegal hawkers, for pedestrians. We will urge the civic body to clear the footpaths,” said Shitole.

After the CCTV footage of the accident went viral on social media, residents of Kamothe have been shaken and are more vigilant while walking on the area’s roads.

“The CCTV grab is very frightening and now I fear to walk on the road,” said Shweta Tiwary, 35, who lives in Sector 18. “Even if I go to the market, I make sure I walk on footpaths, but the problem is there is hardly any space on the footpaths to walk on.”

Kinjal Bhansali, a 36-year-old resident of Sector 12, said the accident was an “eye-opener” and agreed that most footpaths were taken over by hawkers. “We have no choice but to walk in the middle of the road and risk our lives,” said Bhansali.

Shivansh Roy, 30, who lives in Sector 35, said many parked two-wheelers also obstructed the way on footpaths. “I end up arguing that a footpath is not a parking area but nobody pays any heed to this; only official action will make a difference,” he said.

Prashant Rasal, additional commissioner, Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC), said, “We regularly take action against illegal encroachment on roads and footpaths. We will ensure that all footpaths are freed up and strong action is taken against encroachment.”

According to the civic body, they will start with areas such which see the most traffic during peak hours such as Sectors 6, 7, 11 13, 18, 21, 35 and 36 in Kamothe.

Shitole said the citizens’ group will amplify its campaign to free footpaths using social media and by putting up posters and banners in the city.

FAIR PROBE DEMANDED

The citizens’ group has also demanded a fair investigation into Sunday’s accident, which has become a talking point among most residents.

Shitole said Ekta Samajik Sanstha will extend all possible help to gather evidence to aid the probe.

According to the citizens’ group, the CCTV grab that went viral only caught a part of the accident, before the car crashed into some parked vehicles and came to halt after hitting a school bus.

The car driver, Haribinder Singh Matharoo, 75, fled the spot after the accident and later, admitted himself into a nearby hospital, according to the police. He was arrested on Tuesday and police are investigating whether he was drunk at the time of the accident.

But the existing footage does not clearly show who was behind the wheel of the speeding car.

Senior inspector Devidas Sonawane confirmed that the residents’ forum had offered to help by finding other video grabs. “We are investigating the case at our end and the accused has also been arrested. We will wait further before we proceed with the case,” he said.

First Published: Jul 25, 2019 00:28 IST

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