The Bold Voice of J&K

Reasi mishap

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The beginning of October saw accident involving school children and other civilians in Barmeen area of Udhampur District and the month is not yet over and another bloody accident claiming 22 lives in Reasi reminds once again about the safety of bus passengers in Jammu and Kashmir. This is not the first time that an accident has taken place in this region and every time ritually political leaders have grieved the tragedy and promised to provide best medi-care for the injured. With dilapidated roads and rogue transport operators who give two hoots to the rules and compatible district administration which hardly moves beyond its lethargy, such incidents will continue to occur. When it comes to public carriers the passenger safety is the least concern for the bus operators. Over-loading, over-speeding, chasing one another to pick more passengers, erratic driving and use of mobiles while driving are the daily scene one sees on the road by these operators. Most of the passenger carriers have outlived their lives and safety norms. For operating under such conditions it is obvious Traffic Police chooses to remain a mute spectator. Reasons are best known to all. There has been hue and cry after every accident and the ritual ends in a day or two. What happened  in Barmeen and in Reasi are no different than earlier mishaps. State Government at least should rethink on better traffic management so that accident and casualty rates could be brought down. Better connectivity in rural areas, a check on over-loading, regular check up of vehicles and driver’s health are to be carried out religiously for which even the State Government too is not equipped. Unless and until it becomes a peoples’ initiative the traffic management is going to remain in chaos. On the other hand the  J and K Road Safety Council, which was constituted to act as a guiding force has virtually been rendered a ‘useless’ body. This can be gauged from the fact that the Council headed by then Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, was set up way back in September 2012 and the decisions taken in its maiden meeting have still to be brought out from the government closet. The major decisions taken included setting up of Road Accidents Data Management System, appointment of Road Safety Commissioner, conduct of Road Safety Audits of National Highways and other major roads, setting up of Modern Training Institutes and Vehicle Fitness Centers, construction of crash barriers and parapets and deployment of ambulances fitted with advanced life support system at regular intervals on all highways across the State. However, there was no follow up action on almost all these decisions and in all these years more dust has gathered on the official papers.

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