The Telegraph
Monday , December 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Killer highways claim three lives

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 2: Two national highways — NH-5 and NH-203 — passing through the city have claimed three lives and left five injured in the last 24 hours.

The accidents have once again raised serious questions about the role of police in clamping down on reckless driving on these highways.

Trilochan Nayak, 32, was killed in front of Chintamaniswar temple in Laxmisagar area last night when a truck hit his motorcycle on NH-203.

In another accident near Uttara Square, Pravat Nayak, 31, of VSS Nagar was killed when an unidentified vehicle hit his two-wheeler on the same highway connecting Bhubaneswar with Puri.

Similarly, around noon yesterday, a motorcycle-borne MBA student was crushed under an oil tanker at Fire Station Square near Baramunda while crossing the road.

In an early morning mishap at Palasuni Square, five vehicles collided with each other injuring at least five persons who were later rushed to a private hospital. Both these accidents occurred on NH-5 that connects Calcutta with Chennai and passes through the state.

In the last one week, the stretches of the two national highways passing through the city have witnessed at least 25 such minor and major accidents.

Police said drunk and reckless driving caused most of these accidents. However, local residents and road safety activists blamed the police and road transport authorities for their inability to spread awareness about traffic rules and enforcing them.

Maqbul Ali, a road safety activist, said: “If police enforce traffic rules strictly, many accidents can be reduced. Besides the people need to be educated about these rules.” He also said the road transport authorities did not exercise their powers to “check vehicles on NH”.

Even common people alleged lack of coordination among traffic police and other police personnel.

“In the night when traffic policemen are not on duty, other cops do not clamp down on erring drivers,” said Samaresh Dhal, an engineer.

Swati Swarupa, a teacher, said the police only collect money at AG Square and Nalco Square, but neglect their enforcement activities.

However, police officials said fog during winter often led to mishaps. Inspector in charge of traffic police station Ranjan Mallick blamed drunken and reckless driving for such accidents.