NEW DELHI: A part of the newly constructed Bundelkhand Expressway caved in on Wednesday night, just five days after it was inaugurated, leading to a collision of at least six cars and one motorcycle, and leaving more than 13 people injured. Anil Jadon, a resident of Delhi who was travelling to Madhya Pradesh from the national capital along with his family, was one of the first to witness the road cave in on the Expressway, near Chhirriya region in Uttar Pradesh’s Salempur. According to Jadon, he, along with his son and nephew, saved at least 100-150 cars from falling into the sink hole that was created due to the cave-in.
Jadon told The Sunday Guardian that in front of him, at least six cars fell into the crater that was created due to the road cave-in. “Our car just got saved since I applied my brakes as soon as I saw a few cars flying into the air and then falling down. When I got down, I saw a huge crater was created in the middle of the highway and the cars ahead of me were of course unaware of this and since it was raining and there is no light, it is very difficult at night to make out if a part of the road has just vanished,” Jadon said. He further added that he had tried to call the emergency helpline number of the Uttar Pradesh government, “112” and “100”, but none responded. Jadon further claimed that since no emergency helpline numbers worked, he along with his son and nephew started to help the injured travellers and kept alerting the approaching vehicles about the road cave in, in turn saving at least hundred cars and its passengers.
Narrating the incident, Jadon told this newspaper, “Since we were not getting any help, me and my relatives went to the middle of the road and stood some 100-150 metres ahead of the place where the crater had formed and we were waving our mobile torches to alert the approaching vehicles, but then since it was late in the night and dark, people thought we were some miscreants. We then broke few branches of the tree from nearby and put in on the road to alert the vehicles. This is how we saved more than 100 cars from fatal accidents.”
However, Jadon said that at about 11:30 pm when he failed to receive any help, he reached out to the senior Uttar Pradesh police officer, Rahul Mithas, for help, who then helped them get in touch with the local police. After Mithas’ intervention, the local police reached the spot and helped the stranded and the injured individuals. Rahul Mithas, told The Sunday Guardian, “I had received a call at around 11:30 in the night and I was told that some accident had happened on the Bundelkhand highway and that many cars passengers were injured. I immediately alerted the local police, who reached the spot in no time and helped all the victims and stranded passengers.”
The stretch of the Bundelkhand highway which caved in was part of the Jalaun district in Uttar Pradesh and although this part did not fall under the jurisdiction of Mithas, Mithas said that he helped the caller since it was his duty to help and relay information to his colleagues about any such information and provide immediate help to the distressed.
However, UPEIDA (Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority) officials said that the part of the expressway caved in due to incessant rains and that the soil from below the road has slipped away, leading to the caving in of the road. The road has been repaired and traffic movement has been made normal on the route. The 296-km-long Bundelkhand Expressway was inaugurated on 16 July by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was built at a cost of Rs 14,000 crore in a record time of 28 months. The four-lane Expressway connects Bharatkoop in Chitrakoot with Etawah in UP.