Friday, November 08, 2013

On the Highway to Bombay

The other day we decided to visit an old friend of ours. We had grown up – and old – together in the then burgeoning small town of Belapur and since the time was right, we decided to go. Something along the way struck me as typical of India. We don’t give enough importance to planning.  Though it was Diwali there were no lights around and we were on the Bombay-Pune highway and cars were whizzing past as if they were in Budh – the Indian Formula 1 track. We were in a modest rickshaw and immediately my ante was up, I was fearful of the traffic.

Recently four executives on a joy trip fell into a river and all four died. What they thought was a road turned out to be a gradient going towards the river. All were strapped to their seats and they drowned. No wonder road accidents are the biggest killer in India. Around 1,42,000 people died in road accidents in India in 2011, which is high considering it is 11 per cent of the total accident fatalities in the world. When will we learn? Driving in India is a hazard, the reason, perhaps, why we don’t own a car.

For example see the way the following road is laid. While the bridge for the fast lane traffic to Pune should be on the right, it’s actually on the left. The detour to Belapur, which should have been on the left is actually, by some queer thinking, on the right. If a car on the fast lane wants to access the bridge (the highway to Pune) it has to cut across the traffic slowing down for Belapur, and the result would be a collision.
The fast lane traffic has to turn left to access the bridge on the left, while the slowing traffic for Belapur has to go right exit the highway.

Then, again, see the other side of the road. The fast traffic that should travel on the bridge to Bombay has to cut across the traffic slowing down for Belapur. We were travelling on this road, and thank God the rickshaw driver had his faculties in place. Or, God forbid, it would have lead to collision.  

The fast lane traffic has to turn left to access the bridge, while the slowing traffic to Belapur has to turn right.

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