Potholed national highways near Khurda turn ‘death trap’ for commuters

Khurda: The National Highways – 16 and 57 near Khurda district have turned into ‘death trap’ for commuters passing through the stretch due to potholes and rough patches on the road.

Reports claimed that on an average 3-4 precious lives are lost every week with last year registering as many as 200 deaths in separate road mishaps in the Khurda-Balugaon stretch of NH – 16 and Khurda-Nayagarh stretch of NH – 57.

According to sources, the rate of accidents has increased in the last 10 days as the condition of the roads has deteriorated mainly because of huge potholes, rough patches, unmarked heaps of stones and boulders present on the road side.

There are no sign boards or reflectors installed on the road to alert commuters about the heaps of stones placed on the road side for construction works as a result of which motorists find it difficult to drive while passing through through the stretch and face accidents mostly at nights, sources added.

Meanwhile, local residents have held the administration responsible for the situation.

“Due to the callous attitude of the administration, many people have lost their lives in the national highway here between Balugaon and Bhubaneswar in the last two months. No steps have been taken by the administration to solve the issues,” said a local commuter, Bishnu Prasad Jena.

“During the recent monsoon people used to face lot of difficulties while travelling as it became difficult to gauge the depth of potholes filled with rainwater thereby posing a serious threat to their lives. The risk of mishaps increased during night hours,” rued another commuter.

Similarly, the old defunct Gangapada toll gate which was shifted to Godipada area 2 years back has turned out to be a menace for commuters. Slabs, concrete and tiles often fall off the dilapidated structure posing a threat for daily commuters. It becomes more severe as new commuters due to lack of any road signal or traffic light during the night hours.

On the other hand, the abandoned toll office and store house situated close by have turned safe heaven for anti-socials. Miscreants operate from those houses and extort money from passers-by besides engaging in alcoholism, gambling and loot.

Local residents have demanded that the toll gate should be removed as it is of no use.

Meanwhile, Khurda collector, Nirmal Chandra Mishra said that the NHAI authorities have been asked to demolish the structure but they are yet to take any step. He further said the NHAI authorities will be reminded about the issue again.

On the other hand Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Kumar Patasani, said, “I will inform the Commerce & Transport Minister and bring to the notice of concerned authorities to take necessary steps such that road mishaps could be minimised and precious lives are saved.”