Mangaluru: In early June, a young man in his mid-twenties was riding his scooter towards Balmatta Junction from Bunts Hostel. As he took a turn towards Balmatta Junction at Jyothi Circle, his two-wheeler skid off the road leaving him reeling on the concrete road with a few injuries.

The reason his scooter skidded was he rode it into a barricade tape that was put in place to stop vehicles from entering an under-construction site of ‘smart city works’. It was past midnight and the area vicinity had power cut, the young man could not suddenly spot the barricade tape and rode into it. The accident, however, went unreported due to the injuries to the motorist being minor. The local auto drivers quickly picked him up and sent him home. But on any other day, the accident could have been fatal.

In the past few months, since the smart city works and installation of GAIL India pipeline work gained pace in the city, such incidents of motorists meeting such unreported accidents and vehicles sustaining damages after pitting into a deadly pothole on an otherwise smooth road have become normal. Luckily for the administration, none of these accidents have turned fatal but unfortunately, for the public, these minor incidents have not prompted the authorities to put safety measures at the spots that hold deadly potholes that are capable of causing grievous injuries to motorists if not kill them.

At various important junctions and roads across the city, there are potholes dug as a part of smart city and GAIL India Pipeline work. They are either left uncovered after the completion of work, or the work has been left incomplete without putting in place safety measures around the area.

At places where the work has been completed, the potholes have been covered merely with mud which has spoiled the city’s landscape in monsoon.

Ambedkar (Jyothi) circle, Balmatta Junction, Bendorewell, Attavar, Falnir, Kadri, and Bolar are among a few of the areas where the potholes have become a means of inconvenience for the motorists. Uninterrupted monsoon over the last few days in the city has only made the picture worse for the riders and drivers as the waterlogged potholes tend to become unnoticeable, especially during night hours.

When contacted, Mangaluru Smart City works’ General Manager Arun said while a few of these potholes are indeed due to Smart City work, he also added that most of the dangerous and deeply excavated spots were that of GAIL India which is installing underground pipeline across the city.

In the past, people across the city have also complained about the inconveniences caused due to the installation work of the GAIL India pipeline and have objected to their excavations drive. Several places including Baikampady and other localities were severely affected by the pipeline installation work.

MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar, was also contacted by Vartha Bharati for a comment on the matter. Akshy said he will look into the matter at the earliest and initiate action in this regard.

“Action will definitely be initiated against the concerned agency/contractor,” he told Vartha Bharati.

Despite several police barricades lying unused across the city, the police department and the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) authorities have failed to put them to use for the safety of people on the city’s roads.

It is also important for motorists to be attentive to details on the road, but it is more important for authorities to put safety measures in place and be attentive to their duty of ensuring the safety of people.

While it is also agreeable that there could be several inconveniences in establishing the city as a smart city, but is it really smart to put the lives of people in-line to achieve the feat?

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New Delhi(PTI): The Union Home Ministry has asked all states that there should be no delay in registration of FIRs in cases of crimes against SCs and STs and closely monitor such cases where investigation goes beyond two months.

In a communication to all states and Union Territories, the home ministry also said that the district Superintendent of Police (SP) must ensure timely attendance and protection of all prosecution witnesses including police officers and official witnesses for speedy trial of cases related to crimes against Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

"There should be no delay in the registration of FIR in cases of crimes against SCs and STs. Ensure proper supervision at appropriate level of cases of crimes against SCs and STs, from the recording of FIR to the disposal of the case by the competent court," it said in the communication accessed by PTI.

The home ministry said the delays in investigation (beyond 60 days from the date of filing of FIR) shall be monitored at the district and state level in every three months, and wherever required, special DSPs shall be appointed to expedite the process of investigation.

"The authorities concerned in the state governments must ensure proper follow up of reports of cases of atrocities against SCs and STs received from various sources, including the National Commission for SCs and STs," the communication said.

The home ministry said atrocity-prone areas may be identified for taking preventive measures to save life and property of the members of the SC and ST communities. Adequate number of police personnel, fully equipped with policing infrastructure, should be posted in the police stations in such vulnerable areas.

"Delay in trial of cases of crimes against SCs and STs may be reviewed on a regular basis in the monitoring committee or monthly meetings chaired by district and sessions judge attended by District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and Public Prosecutor of the district," it said.

The union government attaches the highest importance to matters relating to the prevention of crime, and therefore, it has been advising the state governments and UT administrations from time to time to give more focused attention to the administration of the criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime including crimes against SCs and STs, the communication said.

The government of India is deeply concerned with the crimes against the weaker sections of society, particularly the SCs and STs and would therefore re-emphasise that urgent action should be taken by the state governments and UT administrations in such cases, it said.

The home ministry said the administration and police should play a more proactive role in detection and investigation of crimes against SCs and STs and ensure that there is no under reporting.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (POA Act) has been amended in 2015 to make it more effective.

New offences such as tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts, which are derogatory to the dignity of members of SCs and STs have been added. The punishments have also been enhanced. Provisions of special courts and speedy trial have been added.

The Act was further amended in 2018. Section 18A has been inserted whereby conduct of preliminary enquiry before registration of FIR, or to seek approval of any authority to arrest an accused is no longer required.