Auto drivers now refuse fares going to Kalyan

Updated: Aug 10, 2019, 08:46 IST | Anamika Gharat | Mumbai

After innumerable deaths on pothole-ridden Kalyan-Dombivli road, drivers say they cannot risk their own lives and those of passengers by travelling on the dangerous stretch

Workers fill potholes after the mishap
Workers fill potholes after the mishap

Barely three days after a police constable died on a pothole-ridden road in Ambernath, another biker died on Friday morning near the Patripul rail overbridge in Ambedkar Nagar, Kalyan, while trying to dodge a crater. When the biker swerved right to avoid a huge pothole, a truck behind the bike knocked down both the riders. One of them died on the spot.

The traffic police at the spot immediately called some workers to fill up the potholes. The auto-rickshaw union members from Dombivli told mid-day that they have begun refusing rides towards Kalyan because of the number of potholes. "There so many potholes on the roads here. This has been the situation for the past many years now. I have been working as a rickshaw driver for 12 years and have decided not to ply passengers towards Kalyan anymore. I am 50 now and suffer from terrible back aches when I drive on the pothole-ridden roads," said Jaywant Shinde, a local auto-rickshaw driver.

Also Read: Ambernath's shame: 5-km highway to hell killed 185 in 10 years

Biker Arun Mahajan died, while another rider
Biker Arun Mahajan died, while another rider

Another one had similar views too. Santosh Jagtap said that many of his driver friends are suffering from Spondylosis and other related illnesses. "I work for almost 14 hours and get stuck in hours of traffic when we got to Kalyan. We are really tired. MLA, MP, civic officials or MSRDC — no one has taken the initiative to change this road condition," he said.

Police officers at the Mahatma Phule police station said that Arun Mahajan and Vilas Redkar, on the bike, tried to save a pothole around 8 am when truck driver Nadim Shaikh bumped into them and the auto-rickshaw. While Mahajan died immediately, Redkar suffered injuries. "It is very difficult to ride on the Kalyan-Dombivli road. We face this situation every year but no one takes the responsibility to fill these potholes. After the truck rammed into us, I fell down and was unconscious for a while but am fine now," narrated Redkar. A passenger in the rickshaw that was also hit by the truck too received minor injuries.

Also Read: Cop on duty avoiding pothole run over by truck in AmbernathVilas Redkar, was injured

Vilas Redkar, was injured

MSRDC at fault

The road is maintained by the state-run MSRDC whose PRO Tushar Ahire said, "I am yet to get details from our regional officer." While many have blamed the MMRDA and civic bodies for bad roads, MSRDC seems to be next in line to be blamed for its equally-bad roads. An on-duty traffic constable from Ambernath died after he swerved his bike to avoid a pothole and crashed into a truck on the Kalyan-Dombivli road on Tuesday night. Sanjeev Patil, 49, died on the way owing to severe bleeding.

Five killed last year

Last monsoon, five people died and several were injured owing to potholes on this road. in a similar incident, a teacher had tried to escape a pothole but the truck driver behind them had applied emergency brakes. While the 32-year-old teacher, Bharti Nare, had fractured her right hand, her daughter suffered minor injuries in the accident. Residents have been complaining about the roads in this region with activists now demanding strong action against the guilty.

The pothole-ridden road in Ambernath where traffic constable Sanjeev Patil died on Tuesday
The pothole-ridden road in Ambernath where traffic constable Sanjeev Patil died on Tuesday

In the past decade, about 185 people have died on the pothole-strewn five km stretch in Ambernath, where constable Patil lost his life. While traffic cops have been sending letters to the Ambernath Municipal Corporation for the last few years, the civic body has allegedly not taken any action.

No. of people who have died on the five-km Ambernath stretch in last decade

Also Read: BMC runs out of cold mix to fix potholes in Mumbai

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