Citizens' Issues
Take immediate action to curb accidents on Expressway: MCCIA to government

With the Maharashtra government, MSRDC and Ideal Road Builders turning a blind eye to curbing accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, MCCIA has reiterated its appeal to the authorities to urgently act upon an accident-prevention campaign

(This the second part of the two-part article by this writer. We had carried the first part yesterday. Click here to read the first part Ideal Road Builders has pocketed nearly Rs1,200 crore from Pune-Mumbai Expressway but what about accident prevention?)

According to news reports, the Pune-Mumbai Expressway has witnessed nearly 20,000 traffic collisions, 2,000 deaths and 8,000 injuries since the last five years or so.  In an analysis conducted by the then principal secretary of the transport department, Ramanath Jha, 56% of the mishaps take place at night and cars account for 54% of the total accidents.

According to the study conducted by the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries (MCCIA), majority of the accidents take place on the following stretches:

Accident Prone Spots

  •   Amrutanjan Point;  
  •   Khandala Exit;  
  •   Straight Road between Kilometre No 50 and 53;
  •   Certain spots in the tunnels;
  • Slope and sharp turns between Taje–Pimploli on the Pune–Khandala stretch; Devale; Oundhe Pul; Kusgaon Pul; Khandala Bypass and Aadoshi Tunnel;
  •   Common stretch of 2km shared by the Expressway and NH 4.  

Other reasons for accidents

  • There are cracks on the Expressway at seven places;
  •   Broken crash barriers;
  • Damaged cats eyes on the centre lines, divider edge line, etc;
  •   Absence of painting on the road dividers;
  •   Damaged radium stripes on crash barriers at many places;
  • Absence of Sign Boards at certain places;
  •   Negligence of RTO and Highway Police in controlling the movement of heavy vehicles resulting in slow movement or break-downs of heavy vehicles as well as use of all three lanes by heavy vehicles especially in the ghat section;
  •   Highway Police, while regulating traffic on the Expressway, overlook such indiscipline / lapses by heavy vehicles resulting in to traffic congestion in the ghat section.

Proposed Solutions:
1.    The stretch near Amrutanjan Bridge is required to be widened and two additional lanes should be provided. Though the Amrutanjan Bridge has been declared as heritage, it is necessary to draw up a plan with the help of modern engineering technology for execution.
2.    Undertake survey of accident-prone spots between Pune and Khandala and highlight these spots with hazardous painting and by making use of modern engineering technology to lessen the gravity of the accidents on these spots.
3.    Carry out repairs at the frontage as well as inside of the tunnels on the Expressway.
4.    Remove or repair cracks at seven places.
5.    Place caution boards indicating accident prone spots to ensure control on speed.
6.    Edge marking, lane marking, centre line as also on divider should be painted.
7.    Repair broken crash barriers and replace damaged or uprooted cats eyes.
8.    Paint thick and broad yellow & white stripes to bring control over excessive speed of the vehicles on the straight road (similar to yellow & white stripes painted at Kivale or red & white stripes painted at Bandra–Worli Sea Link).
9.    Issue instructions to the Highway Police to keep a check on speeding vehicles and increase number of speed guns to implement it effectively.
10.    Regional transport officers should be asked to take stringent action against heavy vehicles carrying load in excess of the prescribed limit and restrict such vehicles from entering the Expressway.
11.    Restrict entry to heavy vehicles from 8.00pm to 6.00am for abnormally long, over-loaded, over-heighted, over-projected, carrying heavy material like machinery, parts of windmills, etc.  Similarly, during day time disallow such vehicles to ply on the Expressway if not accompanied by a pilot vehicle. Such measures are badly required and sufficient care needs to be exercised by regional transport officers and Highway Police.
12.    On the ghat section, reserve 2nd and 3rd lane for heavy vehicles and 1st lane (near the divider) for light vehicles. To maintain the lane discipline, it is essential that the RTO and Highway Police independently implement action plan.
13.    Thirty-two tonne heavy cranes should be deployed permanently near Dasturi for removal of damaged vehicles from the accident spot and subsequently facilitate smooth traffic on the Expressway.
14.    Deploy fully equipped ambulance with trained staff and a doctor to provide immediate and urgent help to the victims.
15.    For monitoring traffic of heavy vehicles on the Expressway, it has become necessary to appoint an RTO inspector between Khalapur Toll Plaza and Talegaon Toll Plaza on Khandala Ghat as well as between Khandala-Lonavla-Malvali-Kamshet-Somatne.

The stretch between Khalapur Toll Plaza and Amrutanjan Bridge falls under the jurisdiction of Thane RTO and beyond Amrutanjan Bridge falls under the jurisdiction of Pune RTO. Therefore, it has become necessary for both RTOs to make special arrangements in their respective areas.

(Please note: The IRB is bound by a contractual agreement with the MSRDC to maintain the Expressway and all the above points prove that it is not doing so. Read the earlier article on the responsibilities of IRB: Mumbai-Pune Expressway toll collected so far: Around Rs1,000 crore. But why is maintenance so shoddy?)

(Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected])



Rajan Vaswani

5 years ago

Madam... your points are valid, but do note that the drivers also are at fault on the expressway. The drivers in big imported cars are the biggest culprits. They believe they are on an F1 track. See my post. I also wrote this feedback to traffic police of Maharashtra, but nothing has been done at all.

Here is one more on how human greed has spoiled the Lonavla ghats that they are a sight for sore eyes.



In Reply to Rajan Vaswani 5 years ago

Your observations are right but it is not only imported cars but all kinds of cars - small and big that overspeed. I agree drivers may be at fault most of the time but if there is strict enforcement of speed and traffic rules, there would be lesser mishaps

Insurers can partner with different banks to sell products: IRDA

IRDA on Wednesday came out with draft guidelines for bancassurance business, under which insurance companies will be allowed to partner with different banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) in different states for selling their products

New Delhi: The Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) on Wednesday came out with draft guidelines for bancassurance business, under which insurance companies will be allowed to partner with different banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) in different states for selling their products, reports PTI.

However, as per the draft norms, banks and NBFCs will not be allowed to sell products of competing insurers in a particular state.

“No bancassurance agent shall tie up with more than one life, one non-life and one standalone health insurance company in any of the states, in addition to one each specialised insurance companies,” IRDA said in its draft regulation on bancassurance agents.

IRDA has invited comments by 12th December on the draft regulation named IRDA (Licensing of Bancassurance Agents) Regulations, 2011.

For the purpose of appointing bank partners, the draft norms divide the country into three zones—A (comprising 13 states), B (comprising nine states) and C (comprising 17 states).

“No insurers shall tie up with any bancassurance agent in more than nine states/Union Territories in Zone A and six states/Union Territories in Zone B,” it said.

As per the proposal, an insurance company will be allowed to appoint one bank partner in limited number of states. This would imply that insurers will have to at least two banks to sell products in each zone.

“We welcome the draft guidelines. Allowing this structure for distribution of insurance products through banks under corporate agency will help the customers. With multiple tie- ups, banks would be able to offer optimum products to its customers,” Aviva India CEO & MD TR Ramachandran said.

The draft guideline further said that in case the agreement of general insurer/s do not have any health product to distribute, the bancassurance agent may tie up with one more general insurance company carrying on exclusively business of health insurance. 

Overall penetration of bancassurance channel is very low, while there is huge potential of 80,000 bank branches and barely 10% of bank borrowers buy life insurance, Mr Ramachandran said.

“Allowing banks to enter in to multiple tie-ups will facilitate insurance companies to reduce the cost of distribution,” he added.

As per the current practice, a bank is allowed to sell products of a life insurance company, a general and a health insurance firm. There has been long pending demand from insurers for relaxing bank distribution channel.

To study distribution channels—agency, bancassurance, referrals, direct sales, etc—the regulator had set up a 10-member committee, headed by former LIC chairman NM Govardhan in 2007.

The committee which submitted 60-page report in 2009 suggested various measures for increasing distribution..


HC reserves order on plea of DLF filed against SEBI’s order

Former attorney general and senior counsel Soli Sorabji, appearing for DLF said that the SEBI order has been passed in violation of principles of natural justice as the realty firm was not provided an opportunity to present its case before the market regulator

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a plea of DLF challenging an order of market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to probe accusations by a Delhi-based businessman that he was duped of Rs34 crore by the realty major and its alleged associate firm Sudipti Estates, reports PTI.

A bench of justice Vipin Sanghi reserved its order after hearing both sides.

Former attorney general and senior counsel Soli Sorabji, appearing for the construction company, said that the SEBI order has been passed in violation of principles of natural justice as the realty firm was not provided an opportunity to present its case before the market regulator.

He said that no notice was issued and documents against the firm were produced without any information.

Citing a division bench order in the matter, Mr Sorabji also said SEBI’s decision should have been passed after hearing both sides and the non-compliance of the direction led to the violation of principles of natural justice.

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Prag Tripathi, appearing for SEBI, said when a regulatory body passed an administrative order to form a prima facie opinion, there was no need to provide an opportunity to other parties to be heard.

The ASG added that the regulator was still at the stage of investigation to make its mind whether there was any violation of public issue norms or not.

He said if it was found that there was any incriminating material to order a probe during the investigation, the parties would be given opportunity to present their case.

DLF, in its petition, sought quashing of SEBI’s earlier order, issued on 20th October, for investigation into the allegations of complainant Kimsuk Krishna Sinha in 2007 against it and Sudipti Estates.

The construction major said SEBI’s order was passed “erroneously and in blatant non-compliance with the principle of natural justice”.

“Respondent-1 (SEBI) passed the impugned order directing investigation into the affairs of the petitioner (DLF) relying not on complaints of respondent-2 (Mr Sinha) but on various extraneous materials which were not available to the petitioner acting contrary to the jurisdictional mandate set in the order on July 21, 2011,” DLF had said.

It further said the order to probe its affairs has been made in violation of “express directions” of the court.

Earlier, SEBI had ordered investigation into the issue of initial public offers (IPOs) after the high court, in July this year, asked it to look into the complaint of Mr Sinha against DLF Group and Sudipti Estates and pass an order in three months.

In the FIR lodged against Sudipti in Delhi, Mr Sinha had alleged that the company and its directors/agents had “lured and compelled” him to transfer certain plots of land and did not fulfil the promise of developing the land and providing him higher returns. 

The market regulator had said, “The Securities and Exchange Board of India shall investigate into the allegations levelled by the complainant in respect of DLF and Sudipti Estates Pvt Limited.” 

“The investigations would focus on violations, if any, of the provisions of the erstwhile SEBI (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines, 2000 read with relevant provisions of the Companies Act, 1956,” SEBI had further said.

Mr Sinha had alleged that Sudipti, DLF Home Developers and DLF Estate Developers were sister concerns, inextricably linked and were part of the DLF Group.

DLF, however, has maintained that Sudipti is a separate legal entity owned and controlled by different individuals.

The construction major in a Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) filed for a public issue in May 2006 had mentioned that Sudipti was its associate company.

However, the DRHP was withdrawn and thereafter, it filed a fresh prospectus in January 2007, wherein Sudipti was not mentioned as an associate.


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