Though the forest department has prohibited heavy vehicles on the 9-km-long Ghat Road that leads to Sinhagad Fort, due to ongoing renovation and widening work, private and state transport buses were seen plying on the road.
Local activist Mauli Koditkar, who undertakes rescue operations on the Ghat Road, said, “A ban on heavy vehicles plying on the road was imposed long ago.
Though the forest department has installed signboards, motorists violate norms. If PMPML buses are not using the road, the how come ST buses and private buses carrying passengers are plying on it? The road is so narrow that even a small car coming from the opposite direction cannot pass by. Plying buses on this road is putting passengers lives at stake.”
Koditkar mentioned that recently he saw a mini bus (MH-12/SB-828) and a regular passenger bus (MH-10/N9098) using the Ghat Road.
Forest officer Ashok Supekar said the Ghat Road is full of dangerous curves.
“The department had issued an order to the Public Works Department (PWD) for repairing and widening of the existing road from 3 metres to 5.3 metres,” he said.
An official from the Public Works Department, requesting anonymity, said they were doing the risky work of improving the quality of the road on the entire stretch.
“Also, anti-crash barricades will be installed on the side of the roads towards the valley on the entire stretch to break the fall of vehicles in case of an accident.”
Deputy Forest Conservator for Pune Division Rajendra Kadam had issued a written order two months ago prohibiting heavy vehicles on the Ghat Road.
Kadam said, “Repairing the 9-km long Ghat Road is a mammoth task in itself and we expect motorists, especially those using heavy vehicles, not to use the road unless it is reconstructed fully. We are trying to complete the work as per availability of funds.”