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State Warns NHAI

Bhubaneswar: Bishnupada Sethi, Principal Secretary Commerce & Transport has warned the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for its non-cooperation and negligence in maintaining the road at Dwarsunighat in Mayurbhanj district.

Mr.Sethi has written a strong letter to the Chief General Manager & Regional Officer of NHAI, Odisha, on this issue.

“You are aware of the fact that, reduction of road accidents and fatalities is a matter of great concern for all of us. During the last decade about 45,000 people have died due to road accidents in the State. Most of them are the young people and bread earners of their families,” he said.  

Mayurbhanj District is one of the vulnerable districts from the point of road safety. During 2021, 540 accidents occurred in the district in which 312 people died. There are 13 Black Spots in the district as per the accident data for 2017-2019, he said.

The Principal Secretary pointed out that Dwarsunighat is a hazardous spot in the district, on which 2/3 accidents occur every month.

As per the information provided by the Mayurbhanj Collector, this issue is regularly discussed in the District Road Safety Committee (DRSC) meeting. In spite of intimation to attend the meeting of DRSC, the PD, NHAI, Balasore never feels it necessary to attend the meeting and sends his representatives to the meeting, which indicates his negligent attitude towards road safety, orders of Collector, Mayurbhanj and directions of Supreme Court Committee, he stated.

“Supreme Court Committee also emphasizes holding the meeting of DRSCs regularly. The representatives who attend the meeting on behalf of the PD, NHAI, Balasore express their inability to repair this stretch, till 4 laning work is taken up. But, human lives are not so cheap to be sacrificed till the road is converted to 4 laning,” Mr.Sethi told the NHAI Odisha Head.

A survey was conducted by the RTO, Mayurbhanj on the Dwarsunighat and photographs of various locations have been taken, which indicate that there are many potholes, no crash barriers/damaged crash barriers, dangerous road shoulders, no signages, no reflective tapes etc. on the road.

The photographs show a gloomy situation on the road. This stretch is very poorly maintained, although it is an important road of the district and a ghat road.

“You are aware of the fact that, State Government accords topmost priority on road safety with the intention to reduce accidents and fatalities in the State. The MoRT&H also accords priority for reduction of accidents and fatalities in the country. But the attitude of NHAI, Odisha towards road safety is quite discouraging,” the Principal Secretary said expressing strong dissatisfaction.

The NHAI regional head has been urged to instruct Technical Officers from his office and the PD, NHAI, Balasore to visit the Dwarsunighat, conduct a survey, find out the defects and rectify them in consultation with the Mayurbhanj Collector and RTO.

He was also asked to submit a compliance report to the Transport Department at the earliest for the kind perusal of Chief Secretary. “The PD, NHAI, Balasore may be instructed to attend the meeting of DRSC regularly,” Mr.Sethi ended his letter with this note.