Kurla residents blame apathy over lack of FOB at Kurla for 3 deaths in 5 months

Locals say they are forced to cross CST Road in Kurla, as the foot over bridge is too high, has no lights and is full of thugs

"I want a zebra crossing, a signal or two traffic constables managing the crowd crossing the road. No one should die like my mother did," said Lata Shinde, daughter of 70-year-old Subhadra Banpatte, who sustained severe injuries in an accident while crossing the busy CST Road at Buddha Nagar at Kurla West and died on Wednesday at Sion Hospital.

The family of Subhadra Banpatte who died in the accident. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The family of Subhadra Banpatte who died in the accident. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

In the past five months, three people have died in accidents at the spot. Local residents have pointed out the uselessness of a foot over bridge nearby, as it has no lights and is full of hooligans who allegedly consume alcohol, drugs and pass lewd comments at women, forcing people to cross the road instead of using it. They say the authorities are not paying heed to their complaints.

The accident spot at CST Road. Local residents said that they have sent letters to traffic authorities, BMC and other civic bodies urging them to take action, but nothing has been doneThe accident spot at CST Road. Local residents said that they have sent letters to traffic authorities, BMC and other civic bodies urging them to take action, but nothing has been done

Banpatte, a resident of Buddha Nagar, met with the accident on the afternoon of March 8 while she was on her way to the market to buy vegetables. Onlookers who witnessed the incident, said that she signalled to a truck to stop as she was crossing but as the truck driver applied emergency brakes, a bike rider who was riding adjacent, lost balance and rammed her, throwing her off the road. “The bike rider couldn’t control the bike. She fell on the divider and started bleeding,” said an eyewitness.

Banpatte was taken to Sion Hospital by her family members and was rushed to the Emergency Medical Unit of the hospital. However, doctors said that due to multiple fractures and a major head injury she didn’t survive. She succumbed to the injuries on the night of March 9.

Death trap
Talking to mid-day, residents nearby confirmed that it wasn’t the first time that an incident like this has taken place and the spot is a dangerous death trap for people. “At least five ladies that we knew have met with accidents there. One of them, Ganga Alkunte, a mother of three, was run over by a car while crossing and pronounced dead in hospital. Everybody says people shouldn’t cross, but where is the alternative,” said Manju Porvi, a female rickshaw driver.

Several women of the locality said that there is a traffic constable who mans the crossing for an hour from 10am to 11am, leaving it unguarded for the rest of the day. “The major issue is the school hours. Though Anjuman Islam School is barely five minutes away, we have to drop the children and pick them up, due to the fear of letting them cross the road,” said Rasiya Sayyed, a resident.

Bridge too high
The foot over bridge, built around five years ago for the people to cross the road is another cause of concern, as the residents are terming it a complete waste of public funds.

A social worker, B S Khan said that the bridge is seldom considered as an option due to its unnecessarily long L shape and excessive height. "Pregnant women, handicapped men or senior citizens completely ignore the bridge. It’s too high and too long for them they say. Secondly, in the evening, the bridge is full of hooligans, passing lewd comments and consuming alcohol and drugs. That’s why the people have gotten used to just ignoring the bridge. There are no lights on it making it more shady," said Khan.

Local residents said that they have sent letters to traffic authorities, BMC and other civic bodies urging them to take action but their pleas have been falling on deaf ears.

Talking to mid-day, local BMC councillor Ashraf Azmi said that he met the additional municipal commissioner about the issue and has asked him, as well as traffic authorities to visit the spot, and come up with a feasible alternative for people.

"As the place is a highway, we cannot put a speed breaker there. But if we shut the crossing completely and counsel people to take the foot over bridge, that could prevent accidents. The additional municipal commissioner will visit the spot in two days to plan out an alternative," said Azmi.

Accidents at the spot
In the past five months, four accidents have taken place on the busy junction at Buddha Nagar, killing three people including Banpatte.

>> Sindhu Shejwai, a 40-year-old woman, was run over by a car five months ago and taken to Sion Hospital where she received treatment for over a month and was discharged.

>> Ganga Alkunte, wife of a rickshaw driver and mother of three children was run over by a truck three months ago and pronounced dead at Sion Hospital.

>> Two youngsters, Shubham Bagul (22), and a friend, were riding a bike when a truck driver suddenly applied brakes due to people crossing, and hit them two months ago. Bagul and his friend fell off the bike and Bagul later succumbed to injuries.

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