June 7: Traffic records have shown that of the 70 accidents reported on an average every month on National Highway 37, 50 are fatal and the victims are mostly from outside the city.
Several of them are hit by speeding cars or trucks while crossing the stretch of NH 37 from Jalukbari to Khanapara on the city’s outskirts, traffic police have said.
“Areas close to the highways are increasingly becoming busy and more and more people are settling here. People from Kamrup, Nalbari, Goalpara, Morigaon and other nearby districts come to houses here to attend marriages or family functions. Others come to visit their relatives’ houses. They normally come in small vehicles plying between the city and nearby districts and get down on highways. As they are not aware about the traffic norms, many are hit by cars,” a traffic policeman at Gorchuk police station said.
Most of those who dangerously cross the highway are women from outside. Hundreds of trucks ply on the highway that connects the state with the rest of the Northeast. Cars and two-wheelers taking the route run at a high speed because of slack policing.
People get down near Gorchuk traffic point and cross the roads without looking at traffic signals.
“We have come across incidents where people are found crossing the roads looking at the opposite side oblivious to the speeding trucks that come at high speed. They do not even bother to use the zebra crossings as many do not know what a zebra crossing is. We often had to shout at people and tell them to wait near the zebra crossings and cross the road cautiously,” the traffic policeman said.
“Yesterday around 1pm, a car hit a road divider as four women and their children had suddenly come in front of it while crossing the road at Gorchuk. As the driver of the car suddenly pressed the brake to avoid an accident, it lost control and hit the divider. The car was damaged but fortunately nothing happened to anyone. The women were from a village in Kamrup district and could not gauge the speed of the car,” the traffic policeman said.
The stretch that connects the city with the rest of the region is witnessing frequent incidents with trucks knocking down motorcycles, trekkers hitting cars and pedestrians and bikers losing control and hitting road dividers.
Most of the accidents are reported at Basistha Chariali, Gorchuk, Lalmati, Beltola, Jalukbari and Khanapara.
Mrityunjoy 108 ambulance has reported 231 accidents in the past four months from January to April.
According to it, the accidents reported during daytime involve pedestrians from outside. The mishaps occurred while they were dangerously crossing the road.
Absence of footbridges has made the situation worse. As there is no footbridge along the stretch, pedestrians often have no other option but to negotiate with the traffic and cross the roads.
“There should be at least 10 footbridges as the areas along the highways are becoming busy …and pedestrians face problems while crossing the roads,” said Dipankar Gogoi, an employee of an automobile showroom at Lokhram on the highway.
According to a study conducted by Mrityunjoy 108 ambulance service, eight places in the city topped the list of places that witnessed the maximum number of mishaps in a year.
Boragaon on the highway stretch reported maximum mishaps. Other areas include Beltola, Jalukbari, Khanapara, Dispur, Amingaon, Pandu and Noonmati.