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Potholes claimed 523 lives in TN from 2017 to 2021

Shobana, a resident of Porur, was run over by a truck on the service road of Chennai bypass on Tuesday morning when she was on her way to drop her younger brother at school. She is believed to have come under the wheels of a truck after hitting a pothole.

CHENNAI: The tragic death of 22-year-old techie Shobana has brought to focus the deaths caused due to potholes. According to road accident data, the State witnessed 2,499 pothole-related accidents, leading to the death of 523 persons from 2017 to 2021. In 2021 alone, 109 people died of pothole-related accidents in TN.

Shobana, a resident of Porur, was run over by a truck on the service road of Chennai bypass on Tuesday morning when she was on her way to drop her younger brother at school. She is believed to have come under the wheels of a truck after hitting a pothole.

Jayaram Venkatesan, convenor of Arappor Iyakkam, said as per the Indian Road Congress and Ministry of Road Transport and Highway specification, the roads laid under the National Highways and State Highways should have a lifetime of 15 years. “However, the roads don’t even last for a few years due to poor maintenance,” he rued.

He pointed out that the Highway departments are not following the norms while undertaking patchwork. “The patchworks should be laid in such a way that it should be equal to the existing road surface,” he said. “The liability should be fixed on both officials and contractor.”

Accident that killed techie not caused by potholes: NHAI

However, the police claimed that a van coming in the opposite direction brushed against the handlebar of Shobana’s two-wheeler, which led to her losing control of the bike on the damaged road, leading to her fall.

A truck which was trailing Shobana’s bike ran over her killing her on the spot. Poonamallee Traffic Investigation wing registered a case and arrested the drivers of the van and the truck, Mohan and Parthiban. They were produced before a magistrate and remanded in custody.

An NHAI official said that the cause of the accident was not potholes as reported in the media. “Though the road surface was damaged on that stretch, the accident was due to the van rubbing her two-wheeler handlebar,” the official said. “But potholes and damaged portions of the service road would be repaired by the contractor.”

Motorists also complain about the delay in re-laying the road after milling the surface. However, a State Highways Department official dismissed the claim, and said: “Milling of the road surface takes a long time — at least 3-4 days. But re-laying can be completed overnight.”

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