The state government has turned down a proposal submitted by the Highway police requesting a dedicated and separate police station for the 94-km stretch of the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. The state’s home ministry snubbed the plan saying that there is no provision to allot police station to any entity other than the police commissionerate and the superintendent office in rural sections.
The Highway police, however, is now demanding that the government at least allow it to conduct investigations into the accidents that take place on that expressway because when it comes to the investigation of the accidents, this gets divided among the police stations located on the Expressway.
In order to do away with jurisdiction confusion after an accident takes place on the expressway, a three-member committee headed by the Superintendent of Police (Highways) Dilip Bhujbal, including MSRDC and IRB officials, suggested that there is need for a separate Expressway police station to deal with issues pertaining to law enforcement and prompt action in case of accidents. The state home ministry, however, turned down the proposal citing that there is no provision in the police manual to allot a separate police station for the 94 km stretch.
“Presently, only the state’s Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has a dedicated police station in Mumbai, other than the police stations that come under the commissionerate and Rural police,” said Bhujbal. He said that the dedicated police station has been given to the ATS because of the sensitive cases related to bomb blasts and terrorist activities they handle.
“In our case, we had told the home ministry that a separate Expressway police station could deal with issues like fining offenders, investigating accident cases, booking violators and providing paramedical facility in case of accidents. The demand, however, was turned down by the government,” Bhujbal said.
“The 94-km stretch of Expressway is lacking major traffic infrastructural facilities and there are no proper posts for police personnel, who look after the smooth functioning of traffic on the Expressway,” Bhujbal said.
He said that the committee recently pointed out that the absence of a single enforcement authority is creating confusion amongst officials of the Highway Police, IRB and MSRDC, and formation of an Expressway police station would resolve several issues.
Currently, there are eight police stations along the Pune-Mumbai highway and the Expressway comes under the jurisdiction of four police stations --Vadgaon, Lonavla, Khandala and Khopoli. The highway police, who govern the expressway, have also set up four police posts at Vadgaon, Khandala, Borghat and Palaspi.
“After our proposal of separate police station have been turned down, we have demanded that the investigation of the accidents which take place on the expressway should be given to us so that we can prove them religiously and the state government is now thinking over it,” he said.
He added that in order to bring the police presence on the express way, they have now shifted the Pavana police chowky to Urse village which is off expressway and new police post has been set up at Khandala so that if the accident takes place the police personnel can rush to the spot in no time.