DC orders inquiry into Katraj tragedy

The probe,which will be conducted by various agencies,would expose the “guilty whose action caused the accident.”

Written by Express News Service | Published: June 11, 2013 2:19 am

DISTRICT Collector Vikas Deshmukh has ordered a three-pronged inquiry into Thursday’s accident near Katraj tunnel in which a woman and her 14-month-old daughter were washed away. The probe,which will be conducted by various agencies,would expose the “guilty whose action caused the accident.”

After convening a meeting of representatives of National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI),sub divisional officer of Bhor,superintendent of rural police,superintendent of Highway police and others on Monday,Deshmukh said,“I have asked the authorities concerned to inquire into the illegal road cutting on the stretch and unauthorised construction in

the area.”

Vishakha Wadekar,her daughter Sanskruti and three other relatives were returning to Pune from Mahabaleshwar on Thursday evening when the family met with the accident. While other occupants of the car managed to get out and reach a safe location,the mother and child were swept away with the gushing water. A day later,fire brigade officials and relatives found the body of Vishakha. The search for Sanskruti’s body is still on.

The accident is believed to have happened due to the blocking of natural course of water in the area.

The Sub Divisional Officer (SDM) of Bhor,under whose jurisdiction the area falls,has been ordered to conduct a separate executive inquiry into the incident.

“The ongoing work on six-lane Pune-Satara highway has blocked the natural course of water. We have asked the authorities concerned to immediately clear the natural course of water,which has either been blocked by illegal constructions or by intentionally blocking the way,” he said.

The technical experts of the NHAI and the private company that operates the toll plaza near the spot have been asked to prepare a detailed report on various water courses in the area.

“The tehsildar will give Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the family of the deceased,” he said.

Deshmukh said in 2011,after receiving a complaint from the NHAI about the alleged encroachments in the area,the district authorities had conducted a thorough inquiry and had fined a private party Rs 64 lakh.

After failing to get relief by filing multiple appeals,the party moved the Bombay High Court.

“We called for auction of the land as the party had failed to pay the fines,but the High Court put an interim stay on the matter. Also,when we decided to pull down illegal constructions,the High Court ordered a stay,” he said.

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