Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Carter Road, Byculla Accidents in Mumbai - Pavement Dwellers Killed

Accidents in Mumbai at Carter Road, Hill Road and Byculla

mumbai accident carter road byculla mazagaon hill road accidents salman khan car santro toyota landcruiserFirst things first, here are the facts of the three accidents involving cars and pavement dwellers -

1. Byculla Accident - 19th November - A 20-year-old student was arrested on Sunday night after his Santro knocked down two by-standers and then crashed into a roadside shanty at Byculla -Mazagaon, injuring three others, including a woman.

2. Carter Road, Bandra Accident - 12th November - Six people in a Toyota Corolla ram into hutments made of brick and tin housing migrant labourers, killing seven and injuring others.

3. Hill Road, Bandra Accident - three people in a Land cruiser (Salman Khan) ran over pavement dwellers killing one person.

There may have been many more pavement dweller accidents in Mumabi but they may not have got enough media coverage. The main question is who is responsible. An old saying goes, "taali dono haathon se bajti hain" meaning that it takes two hands to clap. The Mumbai accident drivers cannot be squarely blamed, as others including the accident victims share equal responsiblity.

1. The Drivers - may or may not have been drunk. An accident can happen to anyone especially at night. A lot depends on the condition of the road - potholes, reflectors, street lights, barriers etc. If there is no pavement, a car has to crash into something else - a ditch, field, pavement or shanties.

2. The Contractors - According to DNA news, Tiruppan a migrant worker said, "50 workers had been staying along the Carter Road for the last two years." Premachandran Sakhiram, another worker said, “It is the contractor who gives us a temporary shelter. And it gets relocated to different locations according to contract.” The contractors shoulder a large part of the blame for the Mumbai accident. If they hire people for building flyovers, bridges etc. they should make adequate housing arrangements or allow them to live in rooms of the building they are constructing like in Delhi. This is surely affordable as homes and offices in Mumbai are sold for crores making billionaires out of construction companies.

Listen in Marwari businessmen - it does not pay to squeeze out the last rupee of profit from every avenue. There are plenty of Mumbai residents without work who have a home in the city. Why don't you hire them instead of importing poor people from villages in Andhra Pradesh. You are paying these migrant workers a pittance for their labour and forcing them to fend for themselves on the streets. Giving Mumbaikars the job at a slightly higher pay won't lose you much cash ! A Pavement is a public place and no one should be allowed to sleep, far less build shanties on it.

3. The Local Police - Encroachments on the pavement are illegal, and if they have existed for two years, then the cops are at fault for not asking them to move. When these huts block pavement space, then the taxpayers who paid for these sidewalks are forced to endanger their lives by walking on the road. The police was most probably being paid by the contractors and getting 'hafta' (bribe) from the pavement dwellers as well, which is why they allow this to happen under their noses.

4. The Politicians/Administrators - kept silent because they need funds from the building contractors to fight the next election. Since the migrant workers are not registered voters in theMumbai area, they know they won't lose any votes - Listen in Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh.

5. The Pavement Dwellers - You don't have to be literate to have common sense. If you can see cars travelling at such a speed why the heck are you still sleeping on the main road ? OK, maybe there is lack of housing, but then you should sleep on the inner roads, beaches...anywhere else but the main road. This 'chalta hai' bindaas (everything goes, nothing will happen to us) attitude just won't do. Those who have never driven a car, just don't understand how much effort it takes to control one. Though I haven't seen pavement dwellers in Delhi, there are many people who thoughtlessly dart out in front of speeding cars to cross the road, not bothering about subways, signals, zebra crossings etc. These folks are just looking for trouble.

6. Road Constructors - if the road has many twists and turns like Carter and Hill Road or is coming off a flyover like Byculla there should be adequate safety measures. There should be speed bumps, reflectors, road strips or barriers. The pavement should be atleast 10 inches high with an iron railing around it. (unlike Mumbai which has three inch or no pavements)

7. Taj Land's End Hotel/ J W Marriott - if a customer is walking out drunk from the hotel, why is the valet giving him the car keys ?

8. NGO's and Church Authorities - who provide stuff to pavement dwellers and migrant labourers and encourage them to stay in roadside shanties. Instead of blabbing how you help the poor and hiring a lawyer to prosecute the rich drivers, why don't you take long term action and file a case against the construction companies/police/administration ? Do the rich and powerful scare you now ?

Other points to note -

1. Did the victims die of accident injuries or due to suffocation and injuries resulting out of the bricks and tin sheets falling on them ?

2. Who does not drink ? If the drivers were drunk then were the pavement dwellers at Carter Road, Byculla or Hill Road sober ? Drinking and sleeping in public places like a sidewalk can get you arrested in most countries.

3. In foreign countries there are strict laws against drinking over the permissable limit and driving. There are proper streets and pavements. Similarly there are laws against jaywalking, illegal construction and labour laws. India has laws but nobody follows them, so how can you prosecute only the car drivers if everyone is at fault too ?

So, what do you think about the Mumbai accidents at Byculla, Carter Road and Hill Road ?


  1. welcome back...
    This is a classic case of having good laws.. but no enforcements...
    book the offenders and fine them heavily. I do not know how much that will deter the crime.. but it will surely get some more funds for the government ... and hence maybe reduce our deficit.

  2. Nice post..very informative..Was it a feature or just an informative piece?
    But I totally agree about the "taali dono haatho se" thing..coz If its the drunken driver's fault running over people on pavements..then its sheer stupidity and carelessness on the part of the sidewalk-sleepers to continue sleepin there?
    Wat can i say..this is India :)

  3. A very good post. You have come back with a bang! This is what I am disturbed with. As you have rightly said both of them have to be blamed. I would blame the 'System' that exists in our country. Can the workers say 'no' to sleeping on the pavement. They cannot because there will be a set of others ready to do the same work and sleep road side, because of poverty and demand to work. Our lives are not valued. Each and every citizen should have responsibilities in saving a life. Because we are a lot in population we do not realise the importance of life. Everything becomes casual and people take it lightly. Only if their kith and kin meets with such an accident they raise their voice. I should say that I felt very bad to see the slums from the flight when I landed last time in Bombay. I feel the money is landing to those who have money. As you have said the politicians are depending on this and so do not involve in such issues. A rule should be a strict rule. Strict action should be taken against drunken driving. The responsibility should come from the individual. I know many of colleagues who never bring their cars for parties once when they have decided to drink. If they have come in the car, and a party is hosted suddenly, they decline to have drinks. I was surprised many times on seeing such things. Things should change there too, and let us hope it will be soon.

  4. yeah; nice post all points relvant and covered.

  5. that finger pointing makes a circle, and thats why its vicious..

  6. I think number 3 and 4 share a greater portion of the blame than most others on the list, apart from number 1, of course.

    To answer the question "Who does not drink?"...

    I don't and know many others who don't.

  7. I liked the post very much and i am impressed by this medium known as BLOG.

  8. thank u very much for teaching hindi!! it was a cool post!
    i like salman khan so i cant say anything abt this issue thoo lol
    yeah i think the pavements should be higher and protected by guard rails. happy weekend, kitty-chan!! ^^

  9. Exhaustive analysis. You have referred to Delhi several times- in the BMW case, the cash rich dad rescued the guy- if such trends are encouraged, there is no point in asking for justice.

  10. Suppose you are driving on empty road or expressway in modern car naturally one will drive at higher speed.
    Suddenly you notice some road hazard like escavation for cables or water pipes,road repairs,flyover construction or potholes on the way most probably you will not stop before safe distance.

    At this particular accident site it is clearly visible in accident picture that contracter has tried to warn motorist by installing Black and Yellow strips painted sheets.

    In Developed countries it is must for Contracters to install "high visibility hazard warning light" which is visible from miles.It is flashing light similar to the light installed at tip of aeroplanes wing.It is visible in rain as well as fog. Those lights are available in India and should be used by contracters for safety concern. -- udayagle@yahoo.co.in

  11. Thanks for your views !

    Hi Hiren, about the BMW Car Accident in Delhi - the victims were three cops and a few pedastrians who were being interrogated at a late hour and not pavement dwellers.They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Hi Uday, never would have guessed the tin corrugated sheets were meant to be a warning sign - looks just like part of the hutment !


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