Twenty six passengers were charred to death beyond recognition when a private bus going from Nagpur to Pune crashed on the so called Samruddhi highway early hours this morning. This was a disaster waiting to happen and government agencies are being squarely blamed for poor planning and enforcement.
It is a dream project costing a staggering Rs 60,000 crore opened with much fanfare by the PrimeMinister last December.
The warning signals were all there and these were all cited in an article on this website by this writer a few days earlier. Here is the link.
It is obvious that our engineers and planners need to learn that knowledge of engineering is not enough, you must understand the human aspects, the highway is going to be used by people and there are multiple problems of psychology and education of the driver, the highway has to be friendly to the driver.
It is totally drab, no greenery whatsoever. Nishikant Bhalerao, a senior journalist from Aurangabad, said he rides very very cautiously because he knows it brings so much fatigue psychologically , he takes a break after some time.
Everything is shoddy. The website of the highway police of Maharashtra is terrible. The first thing you notice is the self publicity, there are photographs of all officers and it is hard to locate information on road crash statistics.
Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book on public transport