Unipole collapses on busy road; SUV auto damaged

GHAZIABAD: Three persons, including a merchant navy captain, had a narrow escape after a crashed on their SUV in on Wednesday. The unipole bounced off the SUV and crushed the front portion of a trailing autorickshaw even though no one was injured.
The incident took place near Morta on Meerut Road at around 1.30 pm when traffic volume on the stretch is generally high. The unipole was on the central verge of the road.

Kuldeep Kumar, the merchant navy captain who was driving the SUV, a Pajero, told TOI that the accident took place when a speeding dumper travelling from Meerut side towards Ghaziabad crashed against the unipole. Kumar was on his way to Loni along the Eastern Peripheral Expressway from his residence in Sector 37, Noida.

?The dumper was speeding with its hopper in an elevated position as if to dispose of its load. We were travelling in the opposite carriageway in the direction of Meerut. The hopper crashed against the unipole and it collapsed on our SUV. There were two more persons inside the SUV apart from me. We had a miraculous escape as the unipole bounced off the SUV,? Kumar told TOI.

According to eyewitnesses, the tried to apply the brakes but could not manage to save the vehicle entirely.

?The auto was a goods-carrier. Its driver, who was alone inside the vehicle, escaped unhurt too. Due to road widening work along the stretch, the carriageways for vehicles have become very narrow. The dumper hit the unipole as it was speeding through the narrow carriageway,? said local police outpost in-charge, Vikas Sharma.

Incidents of unipole and hoarding collapses have been reported very frequently from Ghaziabad in the past. In September 2014, the Federation of Apartment Owners Association had filed a PIL in seeking action against unauthorised hoardings, banners and unipoles in the city that obfuscate traffic signs and impede vehicle movement on roads. The high court had directed municipal bodies across UP to frame bylaws for installation of hoardings. The Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation had also dismantled several illegal hoardings in drives undertaken by it subsequently.

?Illegal hoardings and banners continue to dot every part of the city despite the directions of the high court. We had filed an RTI with the municipal corporation in October asking the number of illegal hoardings identified in the city so far and action taken in the matter. However, the corporation is yet to file its reply to the RTI queries after three months,? said petitioner Alok Kumar.

Authorities could not immediately ascertain if the unipole which crashed on Meerut Road on Wednesday had been installed in accordance with rules after taking due permissions.

?The municipal corporation has framed a set of bylaws for installation of hoardings, banners and unipoles. These bylaws have been in force in the city since 2015. We are trying to ascertain if the unipole had been installed with due process of law. From time to time, the municipal body has also been undertaking drives to dismantle illegal hoardings in the city,? additional municipal commissioner RN Pandey told TOI.

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