Repairs make driving dangerous

new delhi: naveen pal can recall almost every turn he took that night. it was 9.30 pm and he was driving along pragati maidan. ``suddenly, the car in front took a sharp left,'' recalls pal. ``it was dark and i couldn't see why the driver swerved. i quickly moved left too, only to hit a scooter, throwing the driver off.'' a few paces down, pal saw what had caused the accident: a heap of stones and construction material. with more and more pavements being dug up for lesser and lesser obvious reasons, drivers need to be extra cautious, especially at night. be it pragati maidan, nizamuddin, defence colony or ito, digging, redigging, laying and relaying of pavements and roads seems to be the civic agencies' latest preoccupation. the agencies concerned - mcd, ndmc and pwd - are expected to follow a simple drill. * all road-related agencies - including the traffic police, mtnl, ndmc, mcd, cpwd, delhi jal board - are members of a utilities committee under an mcd engineer. * all road projects have to be cleared by the committee. the traffic police needs to be informed 72 hours before the project takes off. * before any major digging, contractors are supposed to barricade the area to help the police divert traffic. the catch lies here. barricading does not apply to ``smaller constructions'' like pavement laying. according to ndmc spokesperson madan thapliyal: ``pavements usually are clear sites. in our area, all construction material is collected on the green area away from the road. we also do not allow accumulation of material. for major constructions, barricading is a must. people have the right to complain against any contractor causing inconvenience.'' executive engineer, mcd, anil tyagi says much the same: ``the onus of ensuring minimum inconvenience to the public lies on the agency overseeing the construction and any aberration calls for a complaint.'' bearing the brunt of this bureaucracy are commuters, and consequently, the traffic police. ``one walk down the roads in the morning and i can report any number of aberrations,'' maxwell pereira, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said. ``although the problem has reduced, we have a new one on our hands now - post-construction, especially along pavements,'' pereira said. the traffic police, he said, were ready to receive complaints. ``strictly speaking, the complaints should be directed to the agencies concerned. however, we do not refuse complaints and forward it to the agencies,'' he said.

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