Over 250 people have lost their lives in last five years on a 78-km long toll road stretch between Meerut and Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh, according to information obtained through the RTI Act. The stretch on the National Highway-58 has witnessed 2,633 road crashes in which 2,499 people were left injured since January 2018, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said.
The stretch falls under the Siwaya toll plaza limit and had 13 black spots, of which only four, have been rectified since 2018, according to the information provided by NHAI's regional officer for western Uttar Pradesh. “The Siwaya toll plaza, operated by Western UP Tollway Limited as concessionaire, had commenced commercial operations in April 2011 and sees movement of over 40,000 vehicles on a daily average. It has already recovered more than double the amount used for construction, but despite that the black spots have not been fixed,” said Noida-based road safety activist Amit Gupta, who had sought the information from the NHAI.
According to the NHAI data, the 78-km long road stretch has recorded 512 accidents till October 31 this year in which 53 people have lost their lives, while another 453 were left injured.
In 2021, the toll stretch saw 546 accidents, 59 deaths and 436 injuries, while in 2020, the figures stood at 429 accidents, 36 deaths and 330 injuries, the data showed.
In 2019, the road stretch saw 687 accidents, 38 deaths and injuries to 653 people, while in 2018, the figures stood at 459 accidents, 70 deaths and injuries to 645 people, according to the official reply. As many as 13 black spots had ben identified on the toll road of which four have been rectified in the last four years, the NHAI stated.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways defines a 'black spot' as a stretch of National Highway of about 500m in length in which either five road accidents (in all three years put together involving fatalities/grievous injuries) or 10 fatalities (in all three years put together) took place during the last three calendar years.
In response to another RTI query of Gupta in October, the NHAI's regional office stated that the toll collection at Siwaya toll plaza had started on April 18, 2011 and would end on June 24, 2026.
So far, Rs 918.98 crore has been earned in toll collection, while the cost of construction of the road stretch was Rs 451 crore, according to the reply.