NHAI fills potholes, resumes 24-hour ambulance service

National Highway Authority of India takes corrective measures after kin of deceased files RTI application

Popat Shinde who lost his brother Balu Shinde (28) in the accident that took place on the pothole-riddled road on Dehuroad-Katraj bypass on national highway number 4 may have won half his battle against the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

Round-the-clock: The ambulance service that was stalled for almost
one year has been resumed. Pic/Ishan Ghosh

Following the accident, the NHAI has not only filled the potholes with asphalt but has also resumed the 24-hour ambulance service that was stalled for a period of one year at Chandani Chowk. Earlier, MiD DAY had reported how Balu was killed on July 18 when a speeding tanker that was trying to dodge a pothole hit his bike near Geneva Society at Chandani Chowk. Popat had approached the police and had filed an RTI application in order to learn which authority was responsible for his brother's death.

Reportedly acting on this, the NHAI authority had immediately filled up all potholes and resumed the ambulance service, which incidentally was stalled for a year, where the mishap had taken place. "My brother could have been saved, only if the ambulance service had been active," said Shinde, an auto-rickshaw driver who has been fighting with the help of RTI consultant Vivek Velankar.

Shinde said that for over four years, the NHAI had given road maintenance contract to a company named P S Toll Private Ltd- which failed to fill up potholes during the monsoon. "I am glad at least NHAI has resumed the ambulance service," Shinde said. 

Shinde has also filed a complain against NHAI and the subcontractor assigned for the road maintenance at Hinjewadi police station, for charging toll at the highway but not filling up potholes "I am also planning to approach the court," he said. Velankar, who is also the director of Sajag Nagrik Manch, said, "Since Shinde has all relevant information about NHAI officials who maintain the  roads, it will be easier for him to file a case in the court."

Senior PI G S Madgulkar of Hinjewadi Police Station said that he has already instructed his team to seek further action and investigate the death of Balu Shinde. Meanwhile,  sarpanch of Bavdhan Village, Vaishali Kamble, said that the NH 4 Dehuroad-Katraj bypass is actually a problem for commuters. "Many innocent lives have been lost here."

The other side
NHAI director for Maharashta and Goa, Anilkumar Sharma was unavailable for comment while the NHAI number at Warje office was out of order.

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