PUNE: The Maharashtra government has deployed drones for the first time on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to stop wayward drivers in their tracks.
The drones will operate from four base stations and will be at work round-the-clock, whirling over traffic to check rash driving and overtaking. The 95-km Mumbai –Pune Expressway road has earned a name for being a deadly ‘death zone’, as reckless drivers cut lanes and ignore the speed limit.
Police said, Drone-based enforcement was demonstrated over the weekend, and resulted in fines for 20 drivers for lane-cutting.
Mr. Amol Tambe, Superintendent of Police (Highways), Pune region said, “We conducted the demonstration on Saturday and Sunday, between noon and 4 p.m. and used two drones in the ghat section [between the Lonavala exit and the Khalapur toll plaza] to monitor traffic on both sides”.
The deadly highway claimed 30 lives in three months and sparking off criticism. The Shiv Sena, which is part of the ruling coalition, called the Expressway a “death trap.”
Mr. Deepak Vasant Kesarkar, Minister of State for Home (Urban), who belongs to the Sena, said drones would be deployed on a pilot basis, because the incidents of rash driving were too many for the minuscule police teams to handle. Mr Kesarkar said, “CCTV cameras are not as effective as drones, so we decided to deploy drone cameras to instil discipline”.