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Yamuna Expressway: UP's 'highway to hell' claims over 8,000 lives since 2012

Monday - July 8, 2019 11:00 pm , Category : HEALTH
Lucknow, July 8 (IANS) The Yamuna Expressway which was billed as the pride of Uttar Pradesh has turned out be a 'highway to hell' for commuters due to its high accident rate that has claimed over 8,000 lives in over 5,000 accidents since it was inaugurated in 2012.
From August 9, 2012, till January 31, 2018, 8,191 people were killed in over 5,000 accidents on the expressway, according to an RTI reply following Monday's deadly bus accident in Etmadpur near Agra that left 30 people dead and 22 others injured.
The National Highways Authority of India's RTI reply to NGO SaveLIFE Foundation also revealed that till January, 2018, there have been 703 major accidents on the expressway that led to 2,000 people being seriously injured.
"Since August 9, 2012 till the end of that year, 275 accidents occurred on the expressway that killed 424 people, and 120 others were seriously injured while 304 were lightly injured," SaveLIFE Foundation told IANS.
Similarly, in 2013, the expressway saw 896 accidents in which 1,463 people died, with 474 people seriously injured, while in 2014, 771 accidents occurred, killing 1,462 people and 498 were badly injured.
In 2015, the number of accidents rose to 919 that killed 1,535 people and left 546 others badly injured.
In 2016, the number of accidents further rose to 1,219 in which 1,657 people died and 554 were seriously injured.
According to the figures, 2017 saw a slight dip in the number of mishaps but the number of fatalities again went up as 1,572 people died in 763 accidents that left 552 others seriously injured.
In the month of January, 2018, there were 37 accidents that killed 78 people and left 24 others seriously injured.
The figures show that apart from 2014 and 2017, the number of accidents and deaths has been consistently rising since the expressway was opened to traffic.
SaveLIFE Foundation CEO Piyush Tewari told IANS: "There's an urgent need to improve enforcement on our highways. The other urgent action required is on engineering issues. Most of our highways are missing crash barriers and other infrastructure measures that can prevent a crash from becoming fatal. This has become an epidemic."
The issue was also raised in the Rajya Sabha by Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav which elicited a reply by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari who said that the Yamuna Expressway comes under the purview of the UP government and asked the state government to come up with solutions to curb accidents.
"So many people have died on the expressway but the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill is still stuck in Parliament. This is not a political issue. UP still leads the casualty figures in road accidents."
"The issue is that every third driver has a fake driving licence but we cannot stop them. The government has been tabling the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill since the last five years but it has still not been passed. I appeal to all to help in getting it passed."
The six-lane Yamuna Expressway connects Agra to Greater Noida. The 165-km highway was built at a cost of Rs 128.39 billion. It was inaugurated by then UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on August 9, 2012. Yadav had touted the expressway as a major achievement of his government.
The Indian Air Force had also landed Mirage-2000 fighter planes on the expressway as a demonstration in 2015. It was the first such instance of fighter jets landing on a national highway.

--IANS hindi-kr