10 years after son died, family seeks law on pothole tragedies : The Tribune India

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10 years after son died, family seeks law on pothole tragedies

10 years after son died, family seeks law on pothole tragedies

Family members of Pavitra (inset) stage a demonstration at the site where he lost his life. Tribune photos



Tribune News Service

Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, February 10

Losing their only son in a tragic accident is not just a devastating experience, but it can also ignite a determination to fight for a cause that could potentially save many lives each year. Manoj Wadhwa and his wife Tina exemplify such resilience, as they have spent the past decade advocating for a cause close to their hearts. However, their quest for justice continues.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of their son Pavitra’s untimely death, which occurred due to an accident caused by a pothole on the National Highway (NH) on this very day in 2014, relatives, family friends and social activists gathered at the accident site near Bata Crossing in the city. Their unified demand: the enactment of legislation to hold accountable the officials responsible for deaths or injuries resulting from potholes on roads.

The demonstration drew the attention of both the traffic police and the civic authorities, prompting them to take action by repairing a cracked section of the road near the accident site. Holding aloft placards bearing poignant messages, the protesters conducted a peaceful demonstration and march to bring attention to the critical issue at hand.

“Pothole deaths must be tried as culpable homicide and the culprits be punished under Section 304 of the IPC,” read the slogans printed on the T- shirts of the participants.

The Wadhwas tragically lost their son in an accident near Bata Chowk (intersection) on the night of February 10, 2014. It was revealed that the two-wheeler carrying Manoj, his wife, and their minor son toppled onto the road after encountering an invisible pothole. They were returning home after attending a function. Pavitra, whose head struck a stone, succumbed to his injuries on the spot. Additionally, his mother sustained injuries when a vehicle following them ran over her legs. Despite undergoing 23 surgeries and enduring immense physical and mental agony during her recovery, the pain of losing their son remains unabated, said Manoj.

Every year, the family revisits the site with the hope that their advocacy efforts will lead to pothole-free roads, preventing such tragic accidents from recurring. Manoj, a 42-year-old engineer employed in the private sector, emphasises that their demand for safer road conditions will persist until the authorities enact appropriate legislation to address the issue.

Although an FIR had been lodged against the officials of the company responsible for maintaining the National Highway at the time of the incident, the matter is still pending in the High Court, with none of the accused facing punishment so far, according to Manoj. The matter has also been taken up with Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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