'Zero landslides this monsoon'

PWD minister Eknath Shinde made this promise during a joint inspection of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, along with transport minister Diwakar Raote

After the horrific June 5 accident on Mumbai-Pune Expressway killed 17 people and highlighted the unsafe state of the E-way, PWD minister Eknath Shinde and transport minister Diwakar Raote yesterday visited the area to review the safety measures taken.

Eknath Shinde
PWD minister Eknath Shinde points  at the ongoing landslide mitigation work and said it would be completed within a month.

Shared responsibility
They started auditing the expressway from Lodhiva Bridge at Khopoli. “Our government is very concerned about public safety at highways but it’s also the public’s duty to follow RTO rules and drive in their lane to avoid such fatal accidents,” said Shinde.

Shinde and Diwakar Raote talk to the cops during the safety audit yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble
Shinde and Diwakar Raote talk to the cops during the safety audit yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble

When asked about the missing crash barriers and broken safety ropes, Shinde told mid-day, “I have passed an order to put up crash barriers wherever missing, and to repair all the safety ropes on the Expressway.”

No landslides
Although there were multiple landslides during the last monsoon, Shinde promised there would be none this year. “This year, I can assure everyone that there will be zero landslide incidents in the monsoon,” the PWD minister claimed, adding that the landslide mitigation work that had started in October 2015, will be completed in a month.

Trauma centre
The ministers then went to the Talegaon toll naka, where a trauma centre was supposed to become operational in 2014. As of now, there is still no facility to cater to emergency cases. Raote told the media, “A trauma centre is ready and will probably become operational in about two months.”

Caught and fined
While auditing the toll naka, Raote caught a truck plying on the Expressway without a number plate. “These things will not be tolerated. We will increase the penalty amount and even punish the owners of such vehicles,” he said. The truck driver, Parilal Tukaram (42), had just bought the truck in Thane. He was caught by the minister and was fined R900 for lane cutting and missing a number plate.

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