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Highway police, MSRDC in dispute over implementation of road safety measures [Pune] [Times of India]
[January 03, 2013]

Highway police, MSRDC in dispute over implementation of road safety measures [Pune] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PUNE: When a serious accident takes place on the Pune-Mumbai expressway, the government and highway police talk about implementing proper road safety measures. However, it is only now that a few measures have been proposed, and their implementation remains bleak as there is no clarity on who will bear the expenditure. There is also no unanimity about the proposed measures.

Over 80% of the accidents, highway police officials said that occur because of over speeding. However, there is no mechanism in place with which the highway police can take effective action against over speeding. With just four speed guns available, highway police are unable to take effective action.

"Even if a special drive is started to check over speeding, only about a thousand drivers can be booked in a day, against nearly 15,000 vehicles that violates the speed limit. The Pune-Mumbai expressway is designed for a speed limit of about 90 kmph. The government has set a maximum speed limit of 80 kmph for driving on the expressway. However, the speed limit is flouted by almost all vehicles,'' said a senior highway official.

Considering that on an average 30,000 vehicles goes on the expressway everyday, there is a need for some effective action against over speeding, said a highway officials. However, effective action or lane cutting will only be possible, if there is a satellite surveillance system. There have also been talks about installation of CCTV t it is not clear who will actually bear the costs.

Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) officials said that they have proposed a system which can be implemented almost free of cost. In the proposed system, all the unused telephone assistance booths (emergency telephone systems) installed earlier by a private telecom company, can be converted into a surveillance system. The booths were installed, when the expressway was opened, 10 years back. However, these booths are not used, as vehicle users directly contact the highway assistance number from their mobile phones. MSRDC officials said CCTV cameras will be installed at these booths.

"There are 92 such emergency telephone systems. All these will be converted into audio-visual emergency response systems. Each such unit can cover an area up to 500 meters on the expressway. The cost of installation will be borne by the same telecom company which had installed the telephone system,'' a MSRDC official said. No time limit has been set for the installation, though MSRDC officials say it can be installed in the next three months.

The state highway department, on the other hand, is not aware of the system that MSRDC proposes to implement. They are instead exploring, which modern CCTV system can be installed so that besides monitoring traffic, action against over speeding and lane cutting can also be taken.

Highway officials also said that there is no particular unit exclusively created for management of traffic on expressway. The officials added that many of the safety measures need to be implemented by the road concessionaire. However, MSRDC officials said that the role of the road concessionaire is limited to ensuring smooth flow of traffic.

(c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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