How safe are our roads? Let’s discuss!

A huge number of deaths are reported each year either due to potholes or deteriorated condition of the roads. No matter which part of the nation it is, potholes have become a prevalent cause of road fatalities killing around 11,386 people in the last 4 years.

India has the second largest network of roads in the world, a large part of that network which connects cities, districts, talukas, villages, etc and bears the city traffic has moved into a worse condition which needs immediate attention by the responsible authorities. In most of the states, the government has privatized the road construction.

Huge pothole which is opposite Infinite Mall on the Link road at Malad west. Express photo by Kevin DSouza, Mumbai 09-07-2016,

Huge pothole which is opposite Infinite Mall on the Link road at Malad west. Express photo by Kevin DSouza, Mumbai 09-07-2016,



We have this simple system of bidding in which if a bidder wins he gets the right to build the road in the given area. What happens here is that instead of carrying out this process in an organised way, bidders pay the bribe to the authorities to get the rights. And here starts the vicious circle. Now, the bidder to get his money back which he paid as the bribe, buys raw material of the cheapest quality thus reducing the invest in raw materials to the minimum.

In this way, we end up getting the roads of lowest quality and strength, which rarely withstand the weight of heavy vehicles or the powerful weather of this country. Over time, the conditions deteriorate, potholes develop and even some manholes are left open which definitely are lethal.

The data given by Ministry of road transport and highways for the year (2013-16) shows that 7 people die per day due to road causalities, where many cases go unreported. Uttar Pradesh(3,428) accounted for the largest number of deaths followed by Maharashtra (1,410), Madhya Pradesh (1,244),West Bengal (783), Bihar (659).

Indian commuters gather around a truck which has fallen into a giant pot-hole caused by heavy rains,on the ring-road of New Delhi, 25 July 2003. The monsoon rains which have lashed Northern India have caused disruption to many transport and civic services in the capital. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)

Indian commuters gather around a truck which has fallen into a giant pot-hole caused by heavy rains,on the ring-road of New Delhi, 25 July 2003. The monsoon rains which have lashed Northern India have caused disruption to many transport and civic services in the capital. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)



The accidents also depend on the factor of the length of road, traffic and annual rainfall. Craters develop on the roads not only due to an inferior quality of construction material but also due to an improper drainage system. Since the water logging occurs and water lays stagnant on the road it starts to crumble.

Proper drainage system along with superior road is needed and authorities must look into the matter. On the part of citizens, they should also stay cautious and follow traffic rules.

So, who must be held responsible for such unnatural deaths? Even police admit that rarely any report is filed by the victim’s family against the road-owning agencies. And such cases are closed on the pretext of the bad road condition or the driver’s fault. This must be changed and people responsible must be held accountable and should be declared guilty of their fault.

The government should launch awareness programmes informing driver’s of their rights and should also regulate the entire system of privatization. Laws must be enforced which make authorities responsible in case of any discrepancies.

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail



Not only should the government make efforts but citizens should also raise their voice, project a united front against the blatant system where no one is ever held accountable.

The amount as the compensation for a person’s life has been set to 1 lakh under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill which the road-owning agency is liable to pay if its fault is found in the accident. The amount is meagre and even if it was more, it would have been no match for the human life.

Kundan Srivastava

Noted Human Rights activist, Founder-CEO 'www.thevoiceraiser.com' (“India’s leading platform to raise a voice for people to fight against injustice & victimization”), Nominee Forbes '30 Under 30', Author-Title is unTitled, Columnist 'UC News India'.

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