With 548 fatalities in five years Yamuna Expressway becomes death highway.
With an alarming rise in fatal accidents on the Rs 13,000 crore ($2 billion), 165-km long Yamuna Expressway — 548 in 5 years — questions are again being raised on its flawed design and the suitability of concrete roads to Indian environmental conditions.
“In 2012 (August onwards) the number of deaths was 33 from 275 accidents. The figures for 2013 were 118 deaths from 896 accidents; in 2014 the number of accidents was 771 resulting in 127 deaths, while in 2015, 142 people lost their lives in 919 accidents,” Agra Development Foundation secretary K.C. Jain told IANS, quoting from the reply to an RTI querry.
There have been a staggering 4,054 accidents since the Expressway opened in August 2012.
Jain said due to laxity of the police and the Expressway Authority the scene had not changed at all, despite numerous complaints to the state government.
The Allahabad High Court had directed the state government to constitute a high-level experts committee in 2015, but the recommendations of this committee have not yet been implemented.
“Till date, there is no mechanism to monitor the speed of vehicles and challan (book) them promptly. Against the mandated speed of 100 kmph, most vehicles cross 150 kmph. This is reflected at display boards at the toll plazas but no action is taken,” Jain pointed out.
Obviously, four-wheelers running at such high speed lose balance or their tyres overheat and burst, causing accidents. In winter, the dense fog leads to accidents, but “people do not learn from such grim tragedies that lead to the loss of life,” social activist Devashish Bhattacharya lamented.