Andher Nagari: Delhi Roads are Most Dangerous

Extracts from TOI and others

Capital shame

T HAT the national capital has come out as the most dangerous city in India as far as pedestrians are concerned will not surprise its residents.

A National Crime Records Bureau report says as many as 589 pedestrians were crushed to death on Delhi’s roads in 2008. In all, pedestrian deaths accounted for nearly 30 per cent of road casualties in Delhi, a rate four times the national average of 8.7 per cent.

This is a matter of shame for the national capital which should be setting standards for other cities in India to follow. And while there is no denying that the staggering number of vehicles on Delhi’s roads — nearly 4.5 million in March 2008, more than the figure for Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai put together — is partly responsible, the role of infringement of traffic regulations, rash and drunken driving and the step- motherly treatment meted out to pedestrians cannot be played down either.

For, let’s accept it: the pedestrian is a rather lowly creature on Delhi’s roads.

Cities in developed countries may set aside pathways for safe walking but Delhi’s roads— broad in comparison to our other metros— make no such provision.

Even the zebra crossings don’t function, with drivers refusing to grant pedestrians the right of way. There are few, if any, signaled pedestrian crossovers. Footpaths which pedestrians can use are often encroached upon by vehicles and vendors.

There aren’t enough foot overbridges and subways. In any case, the subways, being unsafe and unclean, are not used by most people, especially women.

What is needed is better infrastructure for pedestrians, tighter regulation of traffic and public awareness about the need for road safety.

Man rides into 9inch-deep pothole, fractures hands

Stuti Agarwal | TNN

New Delhi: In yet another incident that points to persistent callousness on the part of civic agencies, a 57-year-old man had both his hands fractured as the two-wheeler he was riding tumbled over a 9inch-deep pothole on the Shakarpur Master Block road in east Delhi.

The accident took place around 11.35pm on Saturday in front of Agarwal Dharamshala in Vyast Guru Angad Nagar when J P Sharma, manager of Riverside Club in Mayur Vihar I, was returning to his Laxmi Nagar residence after work.

Locals say in the absence of any repair of the large number of potholes dotting the stretch, such accidents have become common these days. According to Sharma, he fell on the road and couldn’t even move to a side as a result of the injuries. ‘‘I was lying in the middle of the road and saw an Innova speeding towards me.

Fortunately, the driver noticed me and stopped the car before running me over,’’ said Sharma, who suffered two fractures in his right hand, a minor one in his left hand besides getting bruises on his knees.

A few people from the nearby dharamshala offered help by taking him inside and informed his family. Sharma’s youngest son, Vishal (33), rushed to the dharamshala and carried him to a private clinic where he was given painkillers. The next day morning Sharma was taken for an x-ray. His left-hand injuries are reportedly serious and will take over a month to heal as Sharma already has had an iron rod fitted in the hand since he met with an accident two years back.

‘‘I am well aware of those potholes as I take that route every day. But somehow I did not notice this one in time. Now I am fully dependent on my wife and can’t even take the medicines myself,’’ he said.

The road comes under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. When contacted, the agency’s PRO, Deep Mathur said, ‘‘We are not aware of any such incident, so we cannot comment on it.’’

Curiously, the 9inch-deep pothole was filled with loose mud just two days after Sharma’s accident.
While construction material for repair of the road is lying at the site, no work has yet begun. Sharma, who is also the president of Bhartiya Brahman Manch, Delhi, believes the accident happened because of ‘‘the negligence of the contractor’’.

IN BAD SHAPE: J P Sharma (top) was injured when his scooter fell into one of the many potholes on Shakarpur Master Block road

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