The Bold Voice of J&K

Alas! Our Killer Roads

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Omkar Dattatray

It is our ill luck that roads in Jammu and Kashmir are becoming killers as the road accidents are taking place more or less regularly and putting people to untold sufferings .Day in and day out ,road accidents are happening and taking a heavy toll of men ,women ,young and old. The fatal road accidents should be prevented and for this necessary steps need to be taken to curb frequent accidents which lead to loss of many precious lives and injuries to some others .Unfortunately road accidents has become a talk of the town as no day passes out without any accident happening .The hair-raising and spine chilling accident took place in the morning of 15th November on the Doda -Batote- Kishtwar road killing 39 people and injuring 20 people and this tragedy brought gloom ,sadness ,grief not only on the faces of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir but also on the people of India .The ever increasing road accidents bring down shivers over ones spine and these frequent accidents are a matter of grief and grave concern to the people .It is very sad and disturbing that hundreds of precious human lives are consumed in road accidents .The road accidents kill people and also result in making the people handicapped who become unable to perform their routine chorus .It is very sad that road accidents happen in not only on the accident prone roads and on the national highway stretch from Ramban to Banihal and Doda roads ,but on non-accident prone roads as well and this is a matter of grave and big concern. The happening of frequent and tragic road accidents can be attributed to a host of factors and causes as there is no single cause of these accidents .The driving of the vehicles by untrained and unlicensed drivers is the main cause of the road accidents .Over loading ,rash driving and overtaking are the causes of road accidents which result in killing of the large number of passengers .The shabby condition of roads and narrowness of roads is also a cause of road accidents. The fact that roads are same and the vehicular traffic and private vehicles have increased tremendously ,making available roads accident prone .Moreover the road widening is not commensurate with the big increase in number of buses and light motor vehicles .Every time a fatal road accident happens ,the government and its various agencies and departments become active for a very short time and after some time go into hibernation and this also can be said to be a cause of road accidents in UT of Jammu and Kashmir .The increasing and frequent road accidents which claim a large number of passengers should be taken very seriously by the powers and way and means should be found to curb the growing number of accidents .The road transport department ,traffic police ,executive police ,PWD (R&B) department do not take these road accidents seriously ,with the result people continue to be killed .There is lack of cooperation ,coordination and liaison between these line departments of the government and there is the menace of corruption and the interplay of all these factors play their part in fatal road accidents which result in killing ,injuring ,incapacitating and handicapping a large number of passengers .The DPAP chief and former chief minister G.N.Azad has rightly expressed anguish on the recent accident in Doda and demanded that the government should probe the causes of frequent road accidents in Chenab Valley .The UT government should fully investigate the causes of frequent accidents and correct the wrongs so that minimum or no accidents happen on our roads and the large number of precious lives is saved .The government should widen the existing road network so that roads will take the burden of the heavy rush of the ever increasing vehicles .Road barriers should be erected where ever necessary .The traffic police should be on toes and check overloading ,rash driving ,overtaking and driving vehicles while drunk .Chalans should be made and fines should be imposed on those drivers who drive fast ,overload ,overtake and mix alcohol with driving. The drivers should understand and should be made to understand that they have no license to kill passengers so that they drive vehicles very cautiously and carefully in order to make it sure that no accident takes place .The drivers should be held responsible and accountable for accidents and killing and injuring of the passengers .Government should take some hard decisions so that the road accidents will be minimum and loss of precious human lives will not be lost in road accidents .The licenses of those drivers should be confiscated who do not obey traffic rules and cause accidents consuming the lives of the people .Those drivers whose carelessness and negligence causes accidents resulting in killing and injuring of the passengers should be tried in fast track courts and punishments should be pronounced upon them so that others will obey traffic rules and will drive vehicles properly with utmost care and caution so that the chances of the accidents will be minimum .Those vehicles which have become outdated and unfit for driving should not be allowed to be plied on the roads .Common people ,drivers ,conductors ,school and college students et. al should be given awareness ,information and education about traffic rules and safety norms so that general public will follow traffic rules and the accidents will be minimum and the precious lives of the people are saved .Every time government orders probe in the road accidents and frames committee to investigate the accidents and suggest measures so that accidents will be minimum and loss of precious lives is no more .But the fate of these committees is lost in time and in some cases their suggestions are not put into practice .There is urgent need to take serious action in order to curb road accidents and for this high powered committee should be constituted by the UT administration to probe the ever increasing accidents which consume human lives and also result into fatal and non-fatal injuries .Such committee should be directed to probe the causes of accidents in time bound manner and suggest the recommendations which can put curb on the road accidents and the consequent loss of hundreds of human lives .The suggestions and recommendations of such probe committees should be put in to practice so that there will be very less risk and chances of accidents and the loss of human lives will be minimum .In short all of us should play our role and help the powers in curbing frequent road accidents which have unfortunately become a matter of routine and are devouring large number of people and also injuring and incapacitating many more.
(The author is a columnist,
social and KP activist).

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