The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Roads bloody, count mounts
- Cop survey blames both pedestrian, motorist

The portrait of the city streets as a death trap was smeared in blood yet again on Monday, with two mishaps claiming one life and maiming another.

With this, the death count on the roads rose to eight in five days. In two accidents on Monday morning, a 45-year-old pedestrian died and a scooterist was seriously injured. Neither could be identified till late on Monday.

The first victim was crushed under the wheels of a minibus at the Nimtala Ghat Street-Maharshi Debendra Road intersection.

The scooterist was hit by a speeding Sumo at the crossing of Hazra Road and Ritchie Road. He was admitted to Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, where his condition was stated to be critical.

The twin tragedies came on a day when police were busy drawing conclusions from a survey on traffic congestion and calamity, conducted over the past few weeks.

'Most of accidents occur on some particular roads, and these thoroughfares keep shifting position as the most accident-prone zone,' said an officer of the traffic department.

Commenting on the rising road-mishap graph, he said errant pedestrians and reckless drivers were equally at fault.

According to the 2002 figures available with the traffic department, when the death count was 457, BT Road, AJC Bose Road and Strand Road figured among the top five accident-prone thoroughfares.

In 2003, when the death count crept down to 442, BT Road was in seventh position and Strand Road in 14th. In 2004, when the toll touched 420, BT Road, AJC Bose Road and Strand Road were back among the top five peril points.

'We are working on the list for 2005,' said Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner (traffic). 'It will be made available early next year.'

Elaborating on the process of identifying passages of peril, a senior officer of the traffic department said: 'Zeroing in on those zones, we beef up vigil. Apart from increasing deployment there, traffic sergeants are asked to patrol the roads throughout the day. But this renders other thoroughfares vulnerable to accidents, explaining why certain thoroughfares record more mishaps in different months.'

Police blame the chaos at the crossroads on the numbers ' 2,000 traffic personnel and a batch of 230 sergeants managing 10 lakh vehicles and several lakh pedestrians.

While admitting that unruly drivers were largely responsible for the alarming rise in road mishaps, deputy commissioner Shamim added: 'We appeal to pedestrians to follow one basic rule ' do not cross a street when the signal is green for vehicular movement ' to help bring the mishap toll down.

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