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Rudrapur residents demand immediate action on dangerous NH 87 and 74

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Bhonpuram Khabari Rudrapur,  Residents of the Udham Singh Nagar district headquarters, Rudrapur have raised serious concerns over the deteriorating condition of two national highways, number 87 and 74, running through the district. These roads have been left in a deplorable condition with frequent potholes, poor maintenance, and uncontrolled cuts leading to numerous accidents. In 2022, there were 459 accidents recorded on these highways, resulting in 259 fatalities and 342 serious injuries.

Eyewitnesses have blamed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials for the poor state of the roads, alleging their apathy and arbitrary opening and closing of cuts on these highways. The district administration’s failure to take concrete steps has left the residents frustrated and worried for their safety.

 

“These roads are a disaster waiting to happen,” says Priya Sharma, a concerned resident. “It’s high time the authorities take this issue seriously and do something about it.” The residents demand the repairs of cuts on the roads and proper maintenance to prevent further accidents. Another resident, Rajesh Kumar, shared his harrowing experience of swerving off the road after hitting a pothole on highway 87. “The roads need to be repaired and maintained properly to ensure the safety of all road users. In 2019, the then-district magistrate Neeraj Kharwal warned that if any accident occurs on highways due to poor condition of the road, the NHAI officials and the company charged with building the highways will be booked under the relevant section of the IPC. But even after dozens of untimely deaths, no action has been taken against the authorities”, said Sanjay Juneja, president of the city traders’ union.

The residents demand that the cuts on the roads be repaired and that proper maintenance be carried out to prevent further accidents. One resident, Sushil Gava, who has been using these highways for the past 10 years, said, “I have seen the roads go from bad to worse. The potholes are so deep that it is impossible to avoid them. The authorities must take immediate action to fix these roads before it’s too late.”

The highway authorities have closed off the key access point to the JL Nehru district hospital, forcing patients to travel an additional half kilometre for a U-turn on NH-87. It has also sparked outrage among residents and health advocates, who fear that the added travel time will discourage people from seeking medical treatment and put their health and lives at risk. “They have raised barricades there and this added distance and time could prove fatal in emergency cases, where every second counts”, said the chief medical superintendent, Dr. RK Sinha, and has called for an immediate reopening of the access point.

According to SP (City) CS Ghodke, 21 people died in 35 accidents in January 2023 in the district, while 28 sustained injuries. “We are committed to reducing road accidents and ensuring the safety of all motorists on our roads,” says Ghodke. “Our officers are working tirelessly to enforce traffic laws and educate the public on safe driving practices. We are communicating with the NHAI officials to improve the condition of the highways at the earliest”, Ghodke added.

“The roads are a vital lifeline for the district and its residents,” says Pankaj Kalra, “The district administration and the highway authorities must take immediate steps to ensure commuters’ safety and improve these national highways’ conditions.”

“It is high time that the district administration takes this issue seriously and acts on it, as the lives and well-being of its residents are at stake,” says Subhash Dogra, a local resident. The residents of Rudrapur district deserve safe and well-maintained roads, and it is the responsibility of the authorities to provide them with such infrastructure.

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