PUDUCHERRY: Around 60 black spots, which are areas prone to road accidents, have been identified in the Puducherry region by Road Safety Committee.
In the past six years, 1,044 people were killed and 7,164 were injured in road accidents in the UT, said an RTI reply given to P Raghupathy of Rajiv Gandhi Human Rights Awareness Organisation. This shows that an average of four people are injured daily and about 15 people are killed every month in the UT, said Raghupathy.
Of the black spots identified, most are on the Puducherry-Cuddalore road (NH45) from Marapalam to Kaniyakoil, where a road accident is reported almost every alternate day. A district-level official of the committee said the widening and improvement of the stretch have been recommended. The Vazhudavur road, which is prone to two-wheeler accidents, also has some of the black spots. The official pointed to the encroachment of the road by shops up to the Ponlait dairy as one of the factors causing the accidents, and directed eviction.
The Villianur-Moolakulam road, and the stretch from Nellithope signal to the Indira Gandhi statue also require improvements, the official said, adding that the committee has suggested modifying speed breakers on major roads as per the Indian Road Congress norms. The development of Marapalam junction, which is an interaction of five roads including the Cuddalore road and 100 feet road (connecting ECR), would be taken up under the Smart city project along with improving the railway crossing near AFT on Cuddalore road, the official added. Meanwhile, traffic police have recommended a bypass road parallel to Cuddalore road from Marapalam to decongest traffic on the Cuddalore road, said a traffic police official.
Reasons for accidents
Deficiencies in traffic regulations, road engineering, traffic violations, and shortage of manpower are among the many reasons for accidents in Puducherry. Pudumai Balakrishnan, a road safety trainer, said bad conditions of roads, lack of speed breakers and signage, improper lighting, overspeeding, drunken driving, triples riding, usage of mobile phone while riding, and juvenile riders are among the reasons for accidents. Meanwhile, Raghupathy notes the lack of road dividers and reflectors on national highways, which runs through the length and breadth of Puducherry, have led to the accidents. The roundanas at major road junctions and statues and large banners on roadsides are also obstructing and distracting the public, he said.
The non–functioning of traffic signals, unmanned traffic junctions, and illegal roadside parking of buses and lorries that has further added to the problem. A transport department official said the department would penalise illegal roadside parking using the e-Vahan technology. The traffic police meanwhile hope to get funds from the government in the upcoming budget for erecting new signals and repairing and maintaining existing ones, said a senior traffic police official. The official added that the traffic police are bogged down by lack of enough manpower which affects the enforcements. The slow recruitment, too, doesn't help as he pointed out that once the newly-recruited batch of 390 constables complete training, some will be posted but they will have to wait for a year.
Though having radar speed guns, they have not been able to act on overspeeding due to lack of interceptor vehicles, the official said. With technology being an effective tool in traffic management, an Intelligent Traffic Management system has been proposed under the Smart city project, the official added.
PWD Chief Engineer V Sathiyamurthy, speaking to TNIE, said: "PWD has taken up relaying of the Cuddalore road with the `17.7 crore sanctioned by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), while it is awaiting a fund of around `3 crore from Puducherry government for taking up widening work with side drains. For the flyover project connecting the Rajiv Gandhi square and Indira Gandhi square, granted by MORTH, a consultant is being appointed, he added.