The Maharashtra government hopes that the drones that were used to monitor the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway for the past 24 hours — to check for anyone flouting traffic rules — will knock some discipline into motorists.
Transport minister Diwakar Raote said that there has been a slight decrease in the number of accidents on this highway in the past two months. He added that he takes this as a sign that there is increased awareness among commuters, and said that the drones might now make them even more disciplined. “There has been a decrease in the number of accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway over the past two months, but I don’t think we should relax because of this. Instilling awareness among commuters and monitoring those who still don’t follow the rules should go hand-in-hand,” said Mr Raote.
The Mumbai State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), along with the state highway police of Thane and IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited, had conducted the pilot-monitoring project using the drones.
The project had led to around 15 people being caught flouting rules while jumping lanes, speeding and overtaking dangerously, i.e., without signalling properly to other drivers.
Mr Raote, who has been heading this project, said he isn’t sure about when a similar process of monitoring traffic would be installed in Mumbai. “We are still looking at the schedule but, yes, as I said, drones and awareness will go hand-in-hand,” Mr Raote added.
Sources said that Aerial Mappers Pvt Ltd is the company that supplied the drones. “According to procedure, the company only displayed their product on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, while it’s for the state to take the next step. The use of drones has pretty much ended after the pilot exercise, but nothing has been done as far as paperwork is concerned,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
The monitoring was conducted mainly in the Pune side of the highway, in areas such as Khalapur toll naka, Khandala Ghat (Bhorghat), the Khopoli exit to Food Mall, the Kamsheth tunnel to Urse toll naka, Khalapur toll naka to Panvel and the Mumbai-to-Pune side of the Urse toll naka.