The ‘killer’ speadbreakers spread across Pimpri-Chinchwad have claimed yet another life even as the PCMC administration is yet to wake up to set things in order.
Saying that he was sorry to hear of the death, Municipal Commissioner Rajiv Jadhav said he would hold an emergency meeting of all civic executive engineers on Monday and insist on putting in place “rumble strips” instead of the jumbo-sized speedbreakers.
While at least six residents have lost their lives due to the ill-designed speedbreakers in the last three-four years, the latest victim is Anjana Sawant (43), a resident of Chinchwad, who met with an accident last month and died on Sunday.
On June 16, Anjana was riding pillion with her husband on a two-wheeler that hit an unmarked and bulky speed-breaker opposite MIDC office in Chinchwad. A day before Sawant met with the accident, another woman rider was injured at the same spot. Both had suffered head injuries and were admitted to Niramaya Hospital. While the other woman recovered and was discharged, Anjana was shifted to the YCM Hospital as her family could not afford the expenses of a private hospital. YCMH Superintendent Manoj Deshmukh said: “The woman suffered injury to her brain…she was in an unconscious state when brought to the hospital. The end came around 2 pm today (Sunday).”
Like Anjana, 21-year-old Amit Waghere too was riding pillion and suffered a serious head injury after his two-wheeler hit a similar speedbreaker on the Pimprigaon-Pimple Saudagar Road on May 7. He has been in coma ever since. He has undergone at least three surgeries and his family has spent over Rs 8 lakh on his medical bills.
“Amit has started opening his eyes, but does not speak…he is slowly coming out of the coma,” said uncle Prabhakar Waghere. In April 2012, Mangesh Badhane (31) from Panvel, who had come to meet his brother Mahesh Badhane at Padmavati Apartments in Indrayani Nagar, died when his two-wheeler hit a speedbreaker. He fell on the road and suffered serious head injuries. In September 2013, Tanabai Elvande (50) of Nigdi, lost her life after she fell off her son’s bike at Triveninagar Chowk on Nigdi-Talwade Road. In Nigdi-Pradhikaran area, at least three deaths have been reported due to speedbreakers.
Despite loss of several lives, PCMC’s response, said residents and activists, had been one of an uncaring, unconcerned and negligent authority. “It is shocking that…PCMC seems to remain unconcerned and not bothered. Why can’t it construct speedbreakers that do not cause injury or kill people,” asked veteran activist D G Baliga.
Refusing to flatten the speedbreaker opposite MIDC office that claimed Anjana’s life, the PCMC has marked it with white paint.
“Neither the commissioner, nor his engineers show any application of mind,” said Shridhar Chalkha of the Common People’s Front, adding that not only on key roads, but jumbo-sized speedbreakers were making commuting a nightmare even on internal roads of the suburbs.
Industrialist Deepak Pardeshi said: “In 2005, the Bombay High Court had issued directives to lay speedbreaker norms. However, nowhere in Pune this is happening. In Hinjewadi area, the MIDC has made speedbreakers of such abnormal size that driving has become a daily nightmare.”
The PCMC chief, who had a few days back promised to review the speedbreaker policy, Sunday said: “I am sorry to hear the news of the death…I will hold an emergency meeting of all officials concerned. If the rumble strips are a solution, we will put them in place. However, on the BRTS route we will have to go as per the norms stipulated by the Central government.”