Kashmir Indepth

Nobody takes responsibility over growing road accidents, claim 900 lives annually

Ishtyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Jul 06 : As blame game has been started over the growing incidents of road accidents, nothing is being done on the ground to tackle such incidents.

The government has been blaming drivers for driving speedy vehicles while the people have been holding the authorities responsible for not taking any measures for tackling such incidents. Amid this nothing is being done on the ground to prevent such incidents.

As per Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Jammu and Kashmir ranks second across India in the tally of road accidents per 10,000 vehicles with an average of over 900 deaths every year in the last five years.

The Chenab Valley in Jammu region with tough terrain has witnessed a steep increase in the accidents over the past few years. As many as 35 people lost their lives on Monday after a minibus skidded off the road and plunged into a deep gorge in Kishtwar district.

In another accident, at least 11 students were killed and seven others injured when a Tempo they were travelling in crashed after plummeting around 500 feet down a gorge along the mountainous Mughal road in Shopian district.

As per the official figures, during 2018, 984 people lost their lives in 5978 road accidents. The road accidents claimed 926, 958, 917 lives during 2017 and 2016, and 2015, respectively.

For last one decade, the government made tall claims to prevent such incidents. However, the government’s announcements have been confined to papers only.

The government, in 2015, had set up a ‘Lead Agency’ to act as the nodal agency to coordinate all activities relating to the road safety in the state.

The government last year also introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Council Act, 2018, that advocated the formation of a State Road Safety Council.

According to the bill, the proposed council would give advice to the state government regarding transport safety measures.

In April 2012, a committee headed by M Y Tarigami submitted a report to the government.

It had come up with a slew of recommendations for the transport, traffic department, R&B, and other departments for curbing the growing road accidents.

It had found increase in the number of vehicles, narrow and faulty roads, negligent driving, and ageing vehicles among the reasons for growing accidents in J&K.

An official of Transport Department told that all these announcements have been confined to papers only. “The government has also announced implementation of action master plan for curbing on road accidents. All these decisions are yet to be implemented,” the official said. (KNS)

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