VISAKHAPATNAM: Overcrowded private transport vehicles and auto-rickshaws driven by inexperienced drivers have turned out to be life-threatening to tribals of Visakhapatnam Agency area.
Since January 2015, as many as 67 people have died and more than hundreds have been injured in mishaps reported on the ghat road of Paderu and Araku circle.
With poor availability of RTC bus services, majority of the tribals turn to private transport facilities including jeeps, auto-rickshaws and mini-vans. According to police sources, many of the drivers are not trained ones and but they drive the vehicles at high speeds on the curvy ghat roads. There are many instances in which drivers were found to in inebriated conditions while behind the wheels. Overcrowding of the vehicles also make them more vulnerable to accidents.
Despite the increasing accidents, there are no measures taken by the Vizag Rural Police. Moreover, there are no major checking for drunken driving or cases booked against the private vehicles for violation of safety norms.
Locals blame the topography for the spurt in accidents. The ghat roads have many dangerous sharp turns.”During nights, driving on the ghat roads is a difficult task as the roads do not have radium reflectors, which leads to accidents. There are no reflective tapes or sign boards warning about the dangerous curves,” says Durru Upendra, a resident of Paderu.
Sources say a jeep with a capacity of 10, ferry at least 17 to 20 people and their luggage. Some drivers make the tribals sit on the top of the vehicle too. According to the Rural Police, the tribals hire private vehicles from the locality to reach the weekly shandies. In a number of cases, the vehicles overturn owing to over-speeding and fall into the valley.
Unable to control the overcrowded vehicle, the drivers manage to jump out in the eleventh hour, leaving the passengers hanging by the thread.
“Most of the drivers are not trained and shudder at sharp turns. This is the main reason for the accidents. The Paderu circle has around 10 to 15 dangerous turns in the ghat areas where most of accidents occur,” said M Sai, circle inspector of Paderu Circle.
Eeduapalem, Yesuprabhu Vigraham Junction, Food Court Curve and few other junctions are accident-prone. The ghat roads near Ananthagiri, Dumbriguda, Chimidipalle and few other stretches in Araku circle are also said to be dangerous.
Between January 2015 and July 2016, 37 people died and around 200 people were injured in road accidents in Paderu circle. During the same period, 30 died and 150 people were injured in Araku circle.
Narsipatnam region too reported such road mishaps. Koyyuru circle inspector G Mallikarjuna Rao says that compared to Paderu and Araku, Narsipatnam has fewer dangerous roads. Rampalu Ghat near KD Peta and Chintalamma Ghat near Koyyuru are the accident zones in Narsipatnam region, he says.