NEW DELHI: The National Highways (NHs) in South India are turning into death traps, with the ones in Tamil Nadu being the most dangerous.
Tamil Nadu has the highest number of NH accidents in the country - 53,056. Next to TN, it is Karnataka which has the highest number of accidents—40,005 cases. Closely following is Andhra Pradesh with 38,024 accidents and Kerala with 30,000 odd accidents.
The only non-South Indian state which is in the same league is Maharshtra with it having around 37,986 accident cases.
The figure, collated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, is for the 2008-2010 period.
Similarly, TN is second only to Uttar Pradesh when it comes to accident deaths. If UP has had 15,904 deaths in the last three years, Tamil Nadu NHs witnessed 14,929 people losing their lives. Close to TN in the case of casualties is AP with 13,034 deaths and Karnataka with 9,065 deaths. Kerala has recorded 4,383 deaths on its NHs.
The only other state, apart from the above four with high number of NH deaths, is Rajasthan with 9,567 causalities.
According to the data compiled by the Government, 79% of accidents have happened due to the driver’s fault and out of this 6% cases have happened due to drunken driving.
“Liquor shops along the NHs is quite a problem. Since the liquor policy is State subject, it is up to them to take the necessary action,” said an official.
According to him, all states had agreed to the Centre’s suggestion that liquor shops along the NHs must be removed but still licenses are being given, said the official, adding that the Ministry intends to send one more circular to all states in this regard.
The other reasons being cited for the accidents include “fault of pedestrians, fault of cyclist, defect in roads, defect in condition of motor cycle and weather conditions.’’
Among the South Indian States, Tamil Nadu has the longest stretch of national highway with 4,832 kms, followed by AP with 4,537 kms, Karnataka with 4,396 kms and Kerala with 1,457 kms. Nationally, UP has the longest stretch (6,788 kms) followed by Rajasthan 6,373 kms, Madhya Pradesh 5,027 kms and Maharshtra 4,191 kms.
The official said that the Ministry has earmarked the largest chunk of money for repairing National highways in South India, with TN getting the most. “The repair works will include widening of roads, strengthening two lines, construction of bridges and improvement of riding qualities,’’ he said.