Dead End

Published at October 08, 2018 01:12 AM 0Comment(s)4002views


Dead End

Twenty-two people including four women were killed on Saturday after a minibus fell into a gorge near Ramban along Srinagar-Jammu highway. On Sunday, Press Trust of India reported that 76 people have been killed in 365 road accidents in the two districts of Doda and Kisthwar this year. The report also provided figures of Union Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, which show Jammu and Kashmir as second in ranking in the number of road accidents per 10,000 vehicles. An average of 900 deaths per year in the last five years has been recorded for the state. This tells about the tragic tale of the state, particularly about those areas that remain interspersed in mountain areas. The main reason cited by experts is the decrepit infrastructure. While the traffic department has admitted shortage of personnel that could be deployed on roads, other factors also come into play. DSP Police, Traffic, Doda Kishtwar told the news agency that they are trying their best to manage traffic in better way and implement traffic rules for the safety of passengers. And to prove it the DSP reveals the number of vehicles that have been fined in a month. So the first question that comes to mind considering the official response is whether fining vehicles does curb the road accidents in any area of the state. This approach puts more stress on factors other than infrastructure, for example over speeding, condition of vehicles, permits and obeying traffic rules. It doesn’t appear to take into account the main factor – dangerous roads and terrain. It can be argued that many road stretches that lack the supporting infrastructure like fences and embankments are more dangerous than others. In case of a mishap the embankments can prove to be of greater utility than procedural methods like following the rules. For sure reckless driving must be stopped at any cost, but the government must also pay attention on making the roads safer than they are. Even speed limiters are missing on roads on which there is a high risk of fatal accidents. Poor implementation of the Road Safety Policy also contributes in the present abysmal state. Nine hundred deaths in a year is by no means a trivial concern. Need of the hour is that government shows some regard towards saving lives. If there is dearth of traffic cops, it needs to be taken care of on urgent basis.

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