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Authorities helpless to handle Pune city’s traffic 

From there being no respect for road dividers or crossings to three people travelling on a bike to cyclists and pedestrians using dangerous situations, the traffic scenario of Pune is chaotic to say the least.

pune Updated: Jul 13, 2017 15:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Cyclist,Traffic chaos
Three people travelling on a bike in Pune on Tuesday. This is a very common practise in the city and is a disaster waiting to happen.(HT PHOTO)
Key factors contributing to road accidents
Traffic signals and one-ways are both key elements of the city’s central ‘nervous’ system

Lack of traffic personnel, lax supervision of important traffic points and enforcement of Motor Vehicle Act provisions are all contributing to the traffic chaos

The above are observations in the Pune Municipal Corporation’s Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP),which is still in force and are also reasons mentioned by traffic police for accidents in Pune.

PMC and Traffic police are the two backbone agencies, which take care of Pune’s traffic and therefore directly related with accidents in the city.

Admission by both the agencies indicate how they found themselves in a helpless situation to curb a growing number of accidents. While authorities point the finger towards an increasing number of vehicles as the main reason for accidents, citizens blame poor road conditions for the same. Fact remains, as said by Dr Parag Sancheti, that the number of vehicles have gone up but the roads remain the same and fail to accommodate them.

A man taking the wrong way to cross a road. ( HT PHOTO )

Reasons behind accidents are said to be related with uneven surfaces, potholes, speed breakers, signals, signages, parking , encroachment and foot paths.

Take the case of signals. Authorities have identified around 1,500 spots to install the signals. However, they have been installed only at 500 spots in the past few years. Remaining spots continue to be without any monitoring, increasing probability of the accidents.

In the old development plan for Pune, 30 lands were reserved for parking. Most of these reservations are located in the old part of the city, which has become a business district. It attracts all categories of vehicles. Some of these parking lots are yet to be developed. In the absence of parking facilities, parking on streets, which occupy crucial carriage width result in major and minor accidents.

In most parking lots, precious space is found to be used for some other purpose. Parking lots are given to private contractors and administration does not seem to have any control over them, complained Rajesh Chavan, a resident near Mahatma Phule market, which has two big parking lots.

Pune police have imposed ‘no entry’ on 39 major corridors for heavy vehicles during peak hours. PMT and ST buses are excluded from these no entries.

A cyclist crossing the road on a one way. ( HT PHOTO )

However, private buses and trucks do not comply to this restriction. Take the case of Tilak road. A no entry board has been put at both the ends of the road. Many of the vehicle users are not even aware of the ban.

Citizens of Pune have strong sentiments about potholes and poor road conditions, which are a major reason for accidents. While PMC’s mobile van for pothole repair work seems to be a successful experiment, digging of roads by private service providers for cable laying has become a major headache for the civic authorities.

Civic authorities admit in private that their policy for granting permission to private service providers to lay cables is merely on paper.

Rajendra Raut (Chief Engineer, Projects), who is in-charge of roads, maintains that pothole menace is under control. He states that he received less complaints about potholes after the onset of monsoon as compared to last year. “We have undertaken a massive exercise of road safety audit, which is expected to be over soon. Roads are expected to be much safer and accident free once the report is implemented,” he said. Safety audit report involves all agencies like police and RTO.

PMC is now drafting a comprehensive traffic and transportation policy, in which road safety and smooth movement of vehicles are top. PMC’s document says: “Streets form the nervous system of the city. The health of the city and its inhabitants are dependent on its streets.”

Pune’s nervous system has been severely damaged because of accidents? Will it be a healthy future?

First Published: Jul 13, 2017 12:56 IST