Lackadaisical attitude of villagers leads to rise in highway accidents

Though the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has made adequate safety measures on all national highways around Dindigul, indifference on the part of motorists who flout road rules wilfully has resulted in an increase in accidents on NH 7 and NH 45. The areas that witness a large number of accidents are: A. Vellode and Agaram junctions, bypass road to Vedasandur and Mullipadi on NH-7, and Seelapadi stretch on NH 45. These are busy highways passing through Dindigul district, connecting Tiruchi, Karur and Madurai districts.

The NHAI has formed ‘U’ turns 500 metres away from village entry points to ensure safety and to prevent motorists from the villages adjoining the highways crossing them at any place they wish and run into danger of colliding with vehicles coming at a good speed on the four-lane highways. Despite the presence of barricades and deep trenches to thwart crossing at will by the villagers, villagers of A. Vellode and Agaram have laid a crude soil road by breaking the barricade to take a ‘L’ turn. Over 22 people have been killed on the spot at these junctions in the recent past. The NHAI is tired of repairing the pits and erecting barricades again. The irony is that A. Vellode people gave a petition to the Collector in protest against erection of barricade at this accident-prone zone. Collector N. Venkatachalam rejected their demand and advised them to follow traffic rules. But they did not change their attitude. Similarly, people at Agaram have also damaged the highway and cross the road without realising the danger.

Right from the villagers to private and corporation bus drivers, lorry and van drivers and two-wheeler riders, everybody flouts road rules. All buses, lorries and vans going to Ulagampatti and Agaram cross the road at their whim and fancy taking vehicles travelling long distances unawares.

A 6-km distance from Seelapadi to Mullipadi is another gross violation point. Four persons, including a school headmaster, were killed on the spot in a span of 10 days recently. Violation of traffic rules and carelessness of the victims were the prime reasons for the loss of lives in these accidents, say the police.

Traffic violations reached its peak at approach road to Vedasandur on the NH. A ‘U’ turn was provided at Vedasandur bypass road. Not a single person uses this safe turning point. All vehicles, particularly private bus drivers going to Karur, Pallapatti and Vedasandur from Dindigul, use the 500-metre-long down lane before Vittalnaickenpatti to reach Vedasandur. The down way of NH-7 has illegally become two-way. The long-distance drivers are taken aback on seeing vehicles coming in front of them all of a sudden at thise stretch.

The people do not have patience to travel half-a-km extra distance to reach Vedasandur. To save that half km, they risk their lives and limbs, besides posing danger to other motorists, say the police. Stern action and severe punishment alone will change the lackadaisical attitude of the local people, say lorry drivers.

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