Life fast & furious on Baner Rd

Speedsters Rule The Roost, Residents Rue Lack Of Safety
A quiet stretch dotted with trees till a few years ago, Baner Road has become a prototype of all that’s wrong on most roads across the city .Haphazard development on both sides, poor civic infrastructure, ever-increasing traffic and disregard for rules by motorists and pedestrians have made the 7-km road from University junction to Hotel Sadanand one of the most accident-prone stretches in the city. The death of Isha Vishwa karma (3) and her mother, Pooja, in Monday’s accident has brought the spotlight back on the flaws on the road connecting pockets like Aundh, Sangvi, Baner, Balewadi, Sus, Pashan and Rajiv Gandhi IT Park in Hinjewadi.

Vehicles never stop along the road throughout the day because of the varied use of land for offices, residential societies, schools, shops, banks, restaurants and pubs. Besides, jaywalking, speeding, wrong-side driving, signal jumping and illegal parking are rampant.

Old timers cannot match all this to what they had seen while growing up, or even until a decade ago. People living near the heart of the city used to treat Baner Road as “the end of Pune’s limits“.

The scenario started changing since 2008, when the city hosted Commonwealth Youth Games. The stretch dotted with guava trees metamorphosed into a six-lane road with a shining concrete top to allow international teams to reach the sports complex in Balewadi in no time.

Since then, the pace of development -in terms of residential societies, restaurants, shops and offices -never slowed down. Baner Road became too busy a stretch, dangerous and lawless at some points with inadequate traffic police and other safety measures.

Sights of high-speed two-wheelers from Baner Gaon competing for road space with swanky sedans and Hinjewadi-bound buses are common. It’s a battle of nerves to drive along the road, particularly because of the small bylanes and near-invisible turns.

“Mishaps are almost an everyday affair. Many of these incidents go unreported or people simply get lucky ,“ said Sanjeev Singh, a Baner Balewadi Residents’ Association member.

“Most law-breakers are either ignorant of the dangers, or think they can just get away with it. Most of the area has evolved from a village-like setup that it was earlier. The mixed demography also contributes to the challenges,“ he said.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Pravin Mundhe said, “As priority , we deploy our men at critical junctions and make do with patrolling around other localities. The wide Baner Road often encourages speeding. The civic body has to revisit its infrastructure plan until the bus rapid transit project gets going.“

Police slap stricter charge on driver

Pune:The Chatushrungi police on Wednesday slapped section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC on Sujata Shroff (54) for killing Pooja Vishwakarma and her three-year-old daughter, Isha, with her reckless driving on Baner Road on Monday. The section provides a maximum 10 years of punishment if the accused is proved guilty. Shroff had got a bail on Tuesday. TNN

Source : TOI