Undivided Anantapur District has an extensive network of National Highways. Recently, some State Highways passing through the region have also been designated National Highways. However, the safety of the commuters on these roads is being grossly neglected by all the enforcement agencies.
Despite the District Traffic Safety Committee’s decisions to implement the norms stringently, the lack of political will seems to be the reason behind the falling road safety standards here.
The 12-km stretch of NH-44 has turned very dangerous with people driving in the wrong direction on one-way roads and two-lane carriageways. The large hotels that have cropped up along the NH-44 service road have made matters worse by attracting vehicle parking thereby causing road blockades. Some of the hotels’ managements have gone to the extent of removing the road safety barricades put up by the police near their hotel entrances.
The police have failed to make the vehicles take the underpass road at the Tapovanam Junction, where vehicular movement is erratic and dangerous. The political class stopped the underbridge project at the junction 10 years ago. The junction improvement is now being blocked by Municipal, National Highways, R&B, RTA and the Police department, turning silent spectators.
To make things worse, small vendors have permanently stationed their pushcarts between the NH-44 Carriageway and Service Road. When the Highways Authorities try to remove them, they allegedly use political influence to stay put.
District Traffic Safety Committee meetings used to be held once three months earlier. But for the past six months, they have met twice a month, yielding no fruitful results.
Safety signages and solar blinkers along with barricading beams have been stolen from all the “identified Black Spots” several times by the locals making it difficult for the authorities to make the National Highway more safe.