The Tumkur district police have blamed the National Highways Authority of India for the increase in the number of accidents on national highways in the district as they say the NHAI has failed to provide the required infrastructure.
The police have identified 71 “black spots” on the three national highways passing through the district (36 “black spots” on the Bangalore-Pune National Highway; 29 on the Bangalore-Shimoga National Highway; and six on the Bangalore-Mangalore National Highway).
According to the police, in the last three years 1,469 people have been killed and 6,304 people injured in 5,844 accidents in the district.
Fatal accidentsIn 2011, 107 fatal accidents took place on Bangalore-Pune National Highway, 67 on Bangalore-Shimoga National Highway and 37 on Bangalore-Mangalore National Highway. While in 2012, the figures were 92, 71 and 45, in 2013, they were 106, 84 and 40 on these national highways, respectively.
According to the police, the NHAI has not not provided signboards to warn commuters. Even speed bumps and blinkers have not been provided.
Further, the police said, appropriate steps had not been taken at intersections and near village approach roads.
At many places, people walk across the highway as there are no underpasses or footbridges, leading to accidents, sources in the police said.
Referring to an accident that took place near Heggare on April 20 when a motorist died on the spot after colliding with a KSRTC bus, Additional Superintendent of Police R. Lakshman, told The Hindu,
“We registered a case against the engineer of the NHAI on April 20 for failing to take action to prevent accidents near Heggare on Bangalore-Mangalore National Highway.”
In January 2014, a meeting of the police and officials of the NHAI was held in which they were told to provide the required infrastructure.
Mr. Lakshman said that though they had promised to take action within a month, nothing had surfaced.
Assistant Executive Engineer of Bangalore-Shimoga National Highway Benjamin Samuel said that “if we lay speed bumps on this national highway, it will cause inconvenience to long-distance commuters and hence, we have to see the points and then take a decision on it.”
He said that signboards at some points had been put up and if additional signboards were required, which would be provided shortly.
Mr. Samuel said he was not aware of the police having registered a case against the NHAI officer. He said that he would speak with the officer about the issue.
An official from the NHAI told The Hindu, “Every day people of nearby villages open the median to cross the road, making it difficult to keep a watch and close it immediately.”
He said that they had responded to the Police Department and the remaining work would be completed shortly.