Some two months ago, a unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) gathered outside the mortuary and gave full state honours to a head constable, Rinki, a victim of a road rash. Rinki and a six- year-old, Suraj, died on February 17 after they were injured on February 15 by a car driven by Krishan Kumar Mehta, 75. Mehta was speeding because he did not want to get stuck at the Hallomajra light point.
According to the yearly survey conducted by the Road Accident analysis cell of the Chandigarh Traffic Police, Hallomajra light point is one of the most accident prone areas in the city. The survey by the research wing of the Ministry of Road Transport states that maximum accidents in Chandigarh took place at roundabouts and at the light points.
According to a 2012-2014 survey of the Chandigarh Police, 31 fatal accidents had taken place at the airport light point, followed by the Hallomajra light point where 30 accidents were reported in the same period. Next comes the Housing Board light point where 27 fatal accidents were reported.
From the total fatal accidents reported in the city, in 83.96 per cent it is two-wheeler riders (37.4 per cent), pedestrians (32.82 per cent) and cyclists (13.74 per cent) who are dying. This, ironically, in a city that was designed for walkers and cyclists.
“In my opinion, the traffic has increased many folds in the last few years. Chandigarh’s roads are not fit to bear so many vehicles and some major changes in the city’s infrastructure are needed,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Traffic and Security, Maneesh Chaudhry.
For pedestrians, the road near railway station, Hallomajra light point and Sector 25-38 intersection are most accident prone. For cyclists, the railway station, Hallomajra, and Transport light point are the most accident prone.
Dr Umesh Sharma, an Associate Professor at Punjab Engineering College and an expert in Traffic Engineering, Transport Environment Interaction opined that minor changes such as more reflectors at roundabouts would be helpful in preventing accidents at the roundabouts. For others, he suggested, that residents should follow the speed limits and other traffic rules.
“The Press light point was a very accident prone area when there was a roundabout at the intersection. A few years back, the administration removed the roundabout and installed the traffic lights. It is one of the safest junctions in the city now. Why can’t we replicate this in other places?” questions the SSP. He had suggested removal of roundabouts to the Administration about a year back. However, nothing was done.
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