Agra: The 165-km-long Yamuna Expressway, built as a symbol of modern development connecting the Noida industrial hub with Agra — the city of Taj, is now being described as the deadliest road in the country by the families of those who fell victim to speeding on the smooth macadam.
An ambitious project of the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, the eight-lane Expressway was formally opened on August 9, 2012, by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Since its inauguration, there have been 2,194 accidents recorded on the expressway in around 1,000 days.
In reply to an RTI query, the Yamuna Expressway Authority has revealed that there were 319 deaths till July 15 in road accidents. Two major accidents have been reported later.
“So many families have lost their dear ones, but the Expressway Authority continues to overlook speed limits,” K.C. Jain, president of the Agra Development Foundation (ADF), said.
“The Agra Development Foundation filed a public interest petition in Allahabad High Court which directed ADF to give its suggestions to the high-level state committee on Expressway safety for implementation. But so far no action has been initiated by the government.
“We now have no option but to go back to the high court to seek a clear directive to save lives and property,” Jain added.
Rakesh Garg, ADF joint secretary, said most of the vehicles involved in accidents were found to be running above the permissible limit of 100 kmph, as there is no provision to penalize for over speeding.
The laxity on the part of police is proving too costly, he said.
According to the Yamuna Expressway statistics, there were 275 accidents in 2012, it rose to 896 in 2013. There were 771 accidents in 2014. In 2015, there have been 252 accidents till mid-July with the toll standing at 319.
The Central Road Research Institute had sent its recommendations on March 4 and June 4, this year. But the concessionaire, JP Infratech Ltd., is yet to act on them. Over-speeding and tyre-bursts have been identified as two main reasons for accidents but no steps have been taken so far to address these.
The ADF and other voluntary groups have now threatened to stage protest demonstrations and approach the court if measures were not taken soon to make the Expressway a safe route.