The Haridwar district administration has taken a serious note of around 700 human lives that were lost on the Muzzafarnagar – Haridwar national highway in accidents during the past seven years.
These accidents took place after the national highway was commissioned for conversion into four lanes in 2010.
The administration has shot a letter to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) last month accusing it of being casual. It has asked the NHAI to put an adequate number of signages on the highway else face legal action.
In the letter, district magistrate Deepak Rawat mentioned that less number of signages on the 80-km-long Muzzafarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) – Haridwar (Uttarakhand) national highway number 58 had led to hundreds of accidents. He held the NHAI responsible for the accidents.
“The casual approach of the NHAI is not acceptable. I have clearly told them to put adequate signages on the national highway. Failing to do so will invite legal action under IPC 304A (causing death due to negligence),” DM Deepak Rawat told HT on Wednesday.
The NHAI officials in Uttarakhand swung into action soon after receiving the letter. The NHAI is understood to be concerned with the ‘bad press’ that it received in May this year after union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari asked chief minister TS Rawat to drop names of its officials in national highway 74 scam.
The NHAI project director (Uttarakhand) PS Gusain in an internal communication with Alok Khanna, director NHAI mentioned about the legal action that the DM has warned to take.
“Although concessionaire (agency) has installed signages however it appears that some locations have not been covered, causing accidents on the highway. Due to which NHAI is getting defame,” Gusain wrote.
He further writes that there was a need to install a sufficient number of signages on the construction sites and also on accident prone zone.
Muzzafarnagar–Haridwar stretch is part of the NHAI’s ambitious project to convert into four lanes the New Delhi–Dehradun national highway.
The work on the national highway has been going on at snail pace. The work is being carried with a revised cost of ₹1,600 crore and the deadline for the completion of the 80 km is November this year.