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2 accidents within a week in Chengam; debate over safety

With 14 lives lost, capacity and facilities at govt hospital also come under scrutiny

2 accidents within a week in Chengam; debate over safety

An earthmover separating and removing the car and the bus that were involved in the accident near Chengam

TIRUVANNAMALAI: The death of 14 persons in two road accidents, hardly a kilometre and a week apart near Chengam on the Bengaluru-Puducherry National Highway 77 has raised public ire.

“Though road work was started on this stretch in 2008, it is yet to be fully completed with work on culverts still underway,” a local resident told DT Next.

“The work pace is slow but vehicular traffic on this stretch has increased many fold resulting in more than 1000 vehicles using this road daily,” he added.

What adds to the confusion is that there are no “accident-prone area” boards anywhere in the vicinity though the road at this stretch takes a curve with poor visibility. Social media posts demanded to know why PWD Minister EV Velu who undertook so much road improvement work for Tiruvannamalai town failed to do anything to reduce accidents on this stretch.

Complaints were also raised about the readiness of the Chengam Government Hospital to tackle such emergencies.

“Precious time is lost when patients are referred to the medical college hospital at Tiruvannamalai, 38 kilometres away. Efforts should be taken to ensure that the local hospital is equipped with both medical and paramedical staff along with the necessary equipment to handle such emergencies,” Ramanathan a local revealed. In both accidents (the earlier mishap happened on October 16) precious lives could have been saved if only the local hospital was ready to handle emergencies, it was said.

Tamil Nadu officials not demanding that out-of-state tourists have details of their names, ages, addresses, phone and Aadhar numbers of both passengers and drivers in the dashboard of vehicles as followed in AP would have helped in the immediate identification of the victims. “Lack of such a provision was the reason why local police took time to identify the victims in this accident,” said Sethu of Tiruvannamalai. In an accident in the area more than a month ago, police found ganja in the vehicle from Karnataka with all occupants missing.

“How could this have happened if proper checking was undertaken? The passengers list method if followed would have enabled police to identify the culprits,” those in the know say.

Tharian Mathew
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