Mumbai: Why you should be extra careful on service roads

23 May,2024 06:53 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Shirish Vaktania

Speeding tempo kills biker, 55, on Kherwadi service road off Western Express Highway, highlighting perils of these access roads

(Inset) The deceased Hanumant Kharat, a businessman who hailed from Kurla; (right) Kharat’s son, Akshay, and family members outside Sion hospital. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

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A 55-year-old biker was killed after a tempo being driven on the wrong side of a service road off the Western Express Highway crashed into him at Kherwadi in Bandra East on Wednesday. The deceased, Hanumant Kharat, a businessman, was dragged for 30 metres before the tempo came to a halt.

The Kherwadi police registered an FIR and took the driver into custody. An investigation has been initiated.

Akshay Kharat, 30, deceased's son

Kharat was a resident of Kurla and operated a leather wallet factory in Dharavi. His son Akshay informed mid-day that his father never rode his bike without a helmet, broke signals or rode on the wrong side of the road. "However, he had to pay with his life after the truck driver took a shortcut and broke traffic rules," the 30-year-old said.

According to police officers, the incident occurred between 3.30 pm and 4 pm. The accused was heading to Vakola. Kharat had gone to Andheri to deliver wallets. While returning, he entered the service road at Kherwadi after crossing the Santacruz flyover.

The spot where the accident happened at Bandra East. Pic/Rane Ashish

Immediately after the accident, locals rushed Kharat to Sion Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. The police arrived at the scene and took the tempo driver into custody, subsequently arresting him late evening.

Kharat, who turned 55 on May 15, lived with son Akshay, his daughter Pallavi, 31, and wife Sunanda, 50. Recently, Akshay - an assistant manager in an education firm - and he decided to move from Dharavi and purchase a 2 BHK flat in Kurla.

Son's grief

Akshay said, "I was at home around 9.30 am, and my dad helped me pack my tiffin. We laughed together and had a good time. I told him I would come home in the evening, and we would laugh more. In the evening, I received a call from Dharavi, where we used to live. My father's Aadhaar card mentions Dharavi as our address. After finding my father's Aadhaar card, the police visited our previous home. Our former neighbours informed us about the police arriving and that my dad was injured. When I reached the hospital, I found out that my father had passed away."

He added, "My father never broke traffic rules. The accused should receive the strictest punishment, and I want him to spend his entire life in jail. It's foolhardy to take dangerous shortcuts just to save two minutes."

Family man

Kharat was involved in his family's affairs and also ran a marriage bureau free of cost for relatives. He had arranged over 50 marriages for his community. Kharat struggled in life before starting the leather wallet factory. His daughter Pallavi works for BEST while Sunanda is a housewife.

Senior Inspector Rajendra Mulik of the Kherwadi police station said, "We have registered an FIR against the truck driver and arrested him for negligence and also driving on the wrong side of the road."

Additional CP Traffic M Ramkumar said, "Driving on the wrong side is dangerous both for the driver and others. We do not fine such offenders but register an FIR against them under the Indian Penal Code."

"Roads that connect to highways are not service roads but slip roads, which are made for motorists to enter and exit highways. On such roads, we can't set up dividers as they are busy. We request to citizens to never take shortcuts and put lives at risk," he added.

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