Uddhav Thackeray: Govt doing nothing to stop accidents on Samruddhi Expressway

Thackeray said the Buldhana accident should open the government's eyes, as more than 300 people have lost their lives on the expressway.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray (photo: Getty Images)
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray (photo: Getty Images)

NH Digital

Uddhav Thackeray, president of the Shiv Sena (UBT) expressed his grief on Saturday, 1 July, over lives lost in a bus tragedy in Maharashtra's Buldhana. He targeted the Eknath Shinde-led government for "not doing anything" to stop accidents on the Samruddhi Expressway where it occurred.

In a statement, Thackeray said the Buldhana accident should open the government's eyes as more than 300 people have lost their lives on the expressway since it was opened last year. He described this latest incident as "unfortunate and shocking".

A total of 25 passengers were charred to death after the bus they were travelling in caught fire on the Samruddhi Expressway at Pimpalkhuta village, near Sindkhedraja in Buldhana, around 1.30 am on Saturday.

There were 33 persons on board, of whom eight survived, police said. Among the dead are 10 women and 3 children.

News18 discussed that there may be multiple factors that led to the bus accident. One of them is the sleep hypothesis — due to long, uninterrupted hours of overnight driving, drivers tend to fall asleep at the wheel.

An official also spoke to News18 of 'highway hypnosis', saying, "This happens on smooth, empty highways. Despite the eyes being open, the driver may feel as if he/she is sleeping. It is a brief disconnect with the outer world." On Samruddhi Mahamarg, there are no hoardings or billboards on the roadsides or hotels/dhabas to even catch the eye and disrupt the reverie, the official explained. It is possible, he said, that the driver might have experienced highway hypnosis as a result.

President Droupadi Murmu expressed her grief and extended her condolences to families of the victims in a message on Twitter.

The Prime Minister's Office has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh to be paid to the next of kin of those deceased, and Rs 50,000 each to those injured in the incident.

Chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis both rushed to the accident site in the afternoon. From there, they left to meet the injured patients in the hospital.

Officially named the Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, the highway had been a pet project of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the 520 km Phase 1 of the Nagpur–Mumbai Samruddhi Mahamarg in December last year.

Fadnavis has announced an inquiry into the Pimpalkuta accident.

With PTI inputs

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