‘Drivers must be extremely cautious in ghats’

‘Drivers must be extremely cautious in ghats’

Pune: In the wake of the tragic death of 33 staff members of Konkan Agricultural University, where a bus fell down into an 800-feet gorge in Ambenali Ghat, the Highway police has said that drivers should exercise extreme caution while driving in ghats.

When asked about the ghat sections that are danderous, Amol Tambe, Superintendent of Police, Highways, said, “In the ghats, especially in the Sahyadri range, the roads become narrow and the valleys are steep. Large vehicles like buses need a bigger turning radius, which is why drivers need to pay more attention while driving in ghat sections.”

“No ghat is actually dangerous if the rules and directions are followed. Negligence of safe practices, like overtaking etc., can lead to such accidents, especially in ghats like Amba Ghat, Malshej Ghat and Fonda Ghat,” he said.

“Westerns Ghats are a bit difficult, if not dangerous. One has to be very disciplined and alert while ascending and descending these ghats. There are sharp turns and steep climbs and vehicles can’t be seen sometimes,” he said. “In heavy rains, the visibility also reduces and that is why in cases of negligence, accidents can happen,” he added.

Ghats like Malshej (Junnar), Tamhini (Mulshi), Varandha (Bhor), Kumbharli (Satara) and Lonavla-Khandala need precautions while driving and drivers need to be vigilant and cautious while driving in these parts, especially in the monsoon when the visibility is affected by fog and rain.

Major mishaps in Mah in recent past

July 28, 2018: At least 33 people died after a bus fell into a 500-feet deep gorge near Mahabaleshwar in Raigad district. The bus rolled down a mountain road in Ambenali Ghat, near Poladpur town.

June 7, 2018:  At least 10 pilgrims returning from Madhya Pradesh were killed in a road accident on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway in Nashik. The front tyre of the minibus carrying the party suddenly burst, causing the driver to lose control.

June 1, 2018: At least 10 people were killed and two others injured when the car they were travelling in collided with a truck in Kosdani Ghat near Arni in Yavatmal district. 

April 10, 2018: At least 18 labourers were killed and several others injured when a truck carrying more than 35 workers, including several women, overturned and hit a barricade on the Pune-Bengaluru Highway near Khambatki ghat.

Jan 27, 2018: At least 13 persons, including seven women and children, drowned and three others were seriously injured when a minibus rammed into the safety barrier of a bridge and plunged into the Panchaganga river in Kolhapur.

Oct 21, 2017: At least 11 persons were killed and 20 injured when the truck they were travelling in turned turtle in Sangli district.

Compiled by Ratnakar Detke, ST Library

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