WITH the bus accident on Saturday, the issue of lack of protective railings along narrow roads in the ghats of Satara, Raigad and other hilly districts like Ambenali Ghat and Pasrani Ghat has come to the fore once again.
Local residents said Saturday’s accident could have been averted if the stretch had proper fencing. Considering the number of vehicles on the route, because of hill towns of Mahabaleshwar, Wai and Panchgani that attract a huge number of tourists, the demand that the administration pays more attention to safety has been raised time and again.
According to the local residents, several accidents have taken place in the area in the past few years.
In 2003, a tourist bus had fallen into a gorge in Pasrani Ghat near Wai killing 33 tourists from Gujarat. Last year, three members of a family had died on the Mahabaleshwar-Poladpur Road after their car fell into the gorge. The situation is better in Satara district compared to the ghat sections of Raigad.
“Half of Ambenali Ghat is in Satara district and the other half is under Raigad jurisdiction. The 16-odd kilometre of road in the ghat area has some kind of fencing, on and off. But on the stretch that is in Raigad, there is hardly any fencing,” said Akshay Pradeshi, a resident of Wada Kunbharoshi, a village along the road, 3 km away from Saturday’s accident spot in Raigad district.
Anand Utekar, a resident of Pratapgad area, said: “The administration wakes up only after a mishap. But only for a few days till media attention is there. The 4 km stretch that leads up to Pratapgad Fort (in Satara), was recently redone but the fencing is nowhere to be found. It is a Rs 4.5 crore project. They should have built fencing as part of the project itself.”