Boudh: A stretch of 120 km from Manmunda to Badla in Boudh district along Khurda-Bolangir national highway (NH-57) has turned into a deathtrap taking 182 lives over the past four years.
According to reports, big potholes and rough patches on the national highway cause utter difficulties to commuters. It gives a tough time to drivers and commuters alike negotiating the craters. During rainy season, potholes get filled with water posing a serious threat to people.
Worthy to note, 594 road accidents have occurred on this stretch of national highway during the same period. Similarly, 141 persons were known to have been critically injured and 549 others had partial injuries.
The district police said 35 persons in 2016; 49 persons in 2017; 46 persons in 2018; and 52 persons in 2019 have died in road accidents. As construction of Sambalpur-Cuttack national highway is underway, traffic snarls have substantially increased on Khurda-Bolangir route of the NH. This national highway connects with Ranchi-Vijayawada national highway passing through Rairakhol on a bridge-crossroad over river Mahanadi in Boudh and also connects with Kandhamal through the Chari Chhaka of Harabhanga block.
Hundreds of heavy vehicles, passenger buses, cars, ambulances and bikes pass through this highway every day. Allegedly, there are no safe traffic control arrangements at busy and accident-prone spots like Manmunda, Baunsuni, Sahajapal, Boudh town, Puruna Katak and Chari Chhaka areas of the district for effective traffic control.
In such a situation, the laying of bypass roads at Boudh and Puruna Katak areas has been left halfway. Likewise, the Manmunda bypass underway lies incomplete due to disputes for several years.
It is also alleged that narrow bridges built over national highways often cause road accidents. Although, expansion of some narrow bridges has been taken up by authorities, local people have expressed deep concern over the ever increasing trend of accidents.
Identification of accident-prone spots and necessary arrangements for traffic signaling, early completion of road construction and expansion of narrow bridges are among the remedial measures that could help avert accidents, locals opined.