In a first-of-its-kind response, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has decided to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the family of an accident victim who lost her life due to an ill-designed speed breaker.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting called on Monday following the death of Anjana Sawant (43) on Sunday — she had sustained serious injuries in an accident that took place due to a poorly constructed speedbreaker in Chinchwad last month. Unmarked, jumbo-sized speed breakers dot Pimpri-Chinchwad and have claimed six lives so far.
“We will pay Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim (Anjana). We will request the state government to pay the amount from the Chief Minister’s Fund,” said Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Rajiv Jadhav.
Civic officials said this would be first-of-its-kind move initiated by the PCMC in its 30-year history.
“Never before has PCMC cared for a victim of its own faults. This will be the first time PCMC will be paying the amount,” said a senior civic official.
However, the Common People’s Front, which had sought a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family of the victim, said Rs 5 lakh was too meagre a sum.
“You first let a citizen die and then make a mockery of his death by offering just Rs 5 lakh. PCMC should pay not less than Rs 50 lakh for not constructing a proper speed breaker. We will soon meet the municipal commissioner and tell him point blank to give Rs 50 lakh to the victim’s family,” said D G Baliga of the front.
“Why should the state government pay for PCMC’s mistake? PCMC should pay the amount from its own pocket. The commissioner should make executive engineers and other senior officials to pay the amount from their salary as they were responsible for constructing a faulty speed breaker that is life-threatening for commuters,” said Domnic Lobo, founder-member of the front.
The PCMC chief met executive engineers on Monday and discussed the ill-designed speed breakers and the latest death caused by one of them.
“We have received demands to pay assistance to the family of the victim. Accordingly, we will urge the government to pay the amount from the CM’s fund,” he said.
At the meeting, the PCMC commissioner discussed the need for putting in place speed breakers that do not kill commuters or damage their vehicles. While the commissioner argued in favour of rumble strips, a road safety feature to alert drivers of a potential danger, the officials tried to convince him that the civic body was against the concept.
The commissioner, however, said since rumble strips would not cause deaths, PCMC should go for them. “I will ensure that proper speed breakers come up on city roads,” he said.
On June 16, Anjana Sawant fell from the two-wheeler she was riding pillion with her husband after it hit the speed breaker in front of the MIDC office in Chinchwad. She suffered a brain injury and passed away at YCM Hospital at 2 pm on Sunday.
On May 7, Amit Waghere, 21, fell from his bike after it hit speed breakers on the Pimprigaon-Pimple Saudagar Road. He has since undergone three surgeries and remains in coma. In the last few years, at least six deaths have occurred in Pimpri-Chinchwad due to the faulty construction of speed breakers.