How many more people will die of potholed roads before we take the issue seriously?

Today the ToI reported how a young dentist died in a Mumbai suburb as her father was trying to avoid potholes. Such news really sickens you.

On one hand, we are building this huge image of India shining and on the other we have not been able to resolve these small issues. Any grand plan by Highways Ministry is written and commented a lot by the media and the experts. However, we fail to understand how little these things matter in daily living. In daily life, it is not these grandiose plans but much smaller ones that matter. In terms of roads, it is not those big flyovers and sealinks that matter but safe and pothole free roads.

It is amazing how many people die due to potholed roads very year in India. Just last year some 10700 deaths were reported which could just be an under reported figure. There are several cases of fatal injuries and near deaths as well. We are not even including accidents here. It is just about potholes. It is a daily struggle for most commuters in India’s top cities to avoid and survive potholes.

We also fail to understand that it is not just building new roads that matters. They have to be maintained as well. There should be stringent action against officials against such basic negligence of roads maintenance. It is all too casual at the moment with no accountability. Even post the above accident all the authorities said was this:

The civic body has ordered an enquiry and Yuvraj Bhadane, public relations officer of Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, said, “We will look into the matter and ask the contractor to fill up all potholes.”

In Bangalore, one authority claimed he found just one single pothole on his drive on a major road of the city! Perhaps he understood pothole as the road and there was just one spot of road which was seen as a pothole.

One does not even know how to react to such reactions by the authorities. Given such blatant ignorance of matters, what else to expect really..

One Response to “How many more people will die of potholed roads before we take the issue seriously?”

  1. prabhat singh Says:

    One of the reasons behind lack of maintenance of infrastructure is state governments’ fixation with “capital expenditure”. Unfortunately, only creation of new assets, and not their maintenance, counts as capex.

    The Union gov is trying to remedy this issue by tweaking classification of expenditure in the upcoming budget. All states have been issued letters regarding the same.

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