The killing fields of Hyderabad
Hyderabad, a 400-year-old city continues to attract considerable migrant population due to its strategic geographical location, multilingual and...
Hyderabad, a 400-year-old city continues to attract considerable migrant population due to its strategic geographical location, multilingual and cosmopolitan culture, tremendous growth potential and an investor-friendly economic policy.
All these factors have propelled the overall population growth of the city and the surrounding areas. The increasing pressure of the burgeoning population is putting Hyderabad’s transport system under constant pressure and throwing traffic haywire at every odd hour on any given day.
Due to its prominence as a happening high-tech city, it is amongst fastest growing urban regions in the country that gets translated into a population density of more than18,000 persons per sq.km. The rapid rate of urbanization and an overall thrust on economic activity have encouraged migration to the twin cities.
This has had a corresponding increase in vehicular traffic, including personal, public, and transit vehicles. Alas, the road conditions have remained as stagnated as ever. They have not been redesigned to suit the needs of the growing traffic and changing driving habits. In fact, there is nothing like road engineering while the almost obsolete crude method of laying roads still gets patronage from the concerned officials.
The population is estimated to touch 13.64 million by 2021. An overwhelming increase in the number of vehicles plying on the rods has skyrocketed in the past 10 years. As a result of the pressure on the existing and almost worn-our roads there has been an alarming spurt in road mishaps, and higher fatality rate.
It is estimated that since 2001 there is an increase of 202 percent of two-wheeler and 286 percent of four-wheeler vehicles, although there has been no road expansion worth the name. Motor vehicle crashes are commons cause of death and disabilities. The main reason for road accidents in the city is attributed to physical characteristics like emerging new culture of owning high end sleazy four-wheelers, pub culture and the fad of drunken driving and bike racing. All these have turned the entire city into an accident zone.
According to statistics available with the police, up to March there were 3980 drunken drive cases, 499 accidents and 621 deaths due to mishaps. The statistics also indicate that the maximum number of accidents is caused by youngsters in the age group of 25-30 years. The number of accidents involving this age group was 89 while the 20-25 years age-group accounted for 74 accidents.
Though statistics indicate that people are indulging in dangerous driving, the maximum numbers occur either late into the nights or the wee hours. Close to 9,000 cases of violations relating to dangerous driving, of which 4,473 cases were of over-speeding, were recorded in the city during April. The average increase in accidents every year is estimated to be around a mindboggling 20 percent.
The recent accident in which the son of an Andhra Pradesh minister died and the one in which an official of Krishnapatnam Port Trust bring to the fore the urgency to take immediate measures to curb the menace. The monsoon is already round the corner. If weather predictions are pointers, it is likely to hit the city in the next fortnight.
With the kind of horrible roads the global city ‘boasts’ of, driving would become much more dangerous. During monsoon, especially during evenings, visibility would be low. The water-logged potholes will be suicidal, particularly two-wheelers. The need of the hour is a robust traffic system that is dependable. The administration needs to chalk out plans in that direction before it chants the global city mantra.
It’s time the civic body and traffic police work in tandem, that is if saving lives remains on top of the agenda. New strategies to check drunken driving, speed limit violation, using cell phone while driving, not wearing helmets and seat belts, using high0beam light, speed driving and overtaking on flyovers are some of the problems the police needs to focus its attention on. These are humanly possible measures.
All they need is a government that steps in and comes to the rescue of the man on the street, whose life is at peril the moment he steps out of his home or office or educational institution.
By V RAMU SARMA