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Accident Zone: Sugarcane laden trucks and tractors flout rules

Accident Zone: Sugarcane laden trucks and tractors flout rules

Located on NH24, the Simbhaoli sugar mill is accessed by thousands of trucks, tractors and locally devised contraptions, over loaded with sugarcane, that cause traffic snarls and accidents on a fairly regular basis. The local administration as well as the Mill owners do nothing to curb the practice and play little role in organizing the traffic.

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Gajraula, March 13 (GnY news service): The Simbhaoli sugar mill is under the scanner for discharging effluents into the river Ganga affecting the biodiversity of the area, which is home to fresh water dolphins, turtles, crocodiles and over 300 species of fish.

To add to this is a recent accident viewed at the gates of the Simbhaoli sugar mill which points towards the apathy of the mill owners in guiding sugarcane laden trucks that are headed for their factories.
“The sheer volume of these trucks has resulted in its overturning and vision/speed obstruction related accident of buses and cars occur on a regular basis,” said Ravi, a local shopkeeper. The policeman on the beat (the car may be seen in the visual), who requested anonymity, said that such overturning is commonplace. “Just yesterday a bus hit the kerb of the road as it could not see where it was heading. There are systems in place about overloading and high volume produce – but there is no will to stop them,” opined the policeman.

The Mill is located on NH24, which is the main corridor that guides traffic to Moradabad, then to Nainital and beyond. A heavy traffic route, the NH24 has recently acquired a number of flyovers to reduce the travel time and facilitate ease of travel. The Simbhaoli sugar mill was prone to chaos and traffic jams till 2012 when the flyover was built just before it. Long distance commuters found that the traffic in the section eased but, accidents continued to soar.

The mill owners are guilty on three counts – first they do not check over loading of various contraptions that haul sugarcane into their mill, second they do not heed any rules to regulate the volume of the haul in trucks and tractors, and three they do not provide any alternative routes for the trucks to access the mill, apart from the gates which open on NH24.

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The local administration is too apathetic about the number of accidents caused by the bulky trucks, tractors and various unauthorized trawlers hooked to engines that incessantly crawl the highway. According to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, tractor and trailers should not carry material above the height of about 4 m, measured from the ground upon which the vehicle rests. Also the overhang of the goods should not exceed the width of the vehicle and the width of the vehicle should not exceed about 2.5 m.

According to D P Saste, Head of Vehicle Certification in the Central Institute of Road Transport, “the biggest problem with trailers that frequent the roads is that they have no brakes. The entire convoy of trailers and the tractor is controlled only by the brake on the tractor. The chances of toppling increase in the absence of a braking mechanism on the tractor”. He added that since there are no weight limits and norms for tractors with trailers, any number of trailers can be attached to the tractor and they can carry any amount of cargo regardless of weight and dimension. “Most of the times they are not even registered with the transport authority” he opined.

With the visibility falling in the night hours, accidents are commonplace on the highway. What is disturbing is the poor implementation of the law, lack of responsibility of the private sector and above all the sheer disregard for human life by all and sundry.

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