Some people were still mourning the loss when another horrible accident took place on the historical Mughal Road at Peer Ki Gali. Grieving parents were still to come to terms with the irreparable loss over the deaths of their daughters and the grave yards were still witnessing the dew after the last burials. A vehicle with merely 27 seats capacity was boarded by 52 passengers, from Keshwan to Kishtwar town. Perhaps with such an unbelievable overcrowd minibus, the driver had disregarded the safety of all those including himself that were on board. It was his negligence that made the entire state to mourn and suffer over the loss.
The overcrowded minibus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge and claimed lives of 35 passengers while 17 others got injured. The injured were airlifted and any delay would have compounded the tragic episode.
As per the reports of the respective District Magistrate the minibus was overloaded with passengers and the driver was driving fast. A rescue operation was immediately launched by the police and locals. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital by a rescue team comprising locals as well as police and government forces. Everyone tried to provide a helping hand. People believe in optimism, that one day the government will look into the increasing number of accidents and devise a mechanism to get rid on these deplorable mishaps.
Hasn’t the state administration heard the wailing Adiba, the 3-year-old girl who has probably suffered the biggest loss in the tragic accident. Adiba's entire family, including her father, mother and two brothers died in the incident. She is the only one left in her immediate family now. All members of her family died either on the spot or after reaching Kishtwar hospital. One of her relative Baber Ali stated that the relatives would not let Adiba become an orphan but also urged the government to provide financial help for the upbringing of the girl. People have also alleged the lacking facilities at Kishtwar Hospital. They also dispatched the ambulance quite late to the location of the incident.
The government often boasts that work and efforts on road connectivity are being made. Macadamization that comes after spending crores of rupees so that the people of the state can travel without having fear, but people have complained with their amplifying voices to repair the deteriorating roads, to stop the plying of dilapidated vehicles on roads, to macadamize the rough roads and to take the cognizance of overloading in public transport, especially in the accident prone Chenab and Pir panjal region.
The J&K government had last year introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Council Bill, 2018, advocating the formation of a State Road Safety Council. According to the bill, the proposed council will be responsible for ensuring road safety across the state and will advise the state government on transport safety measures. The council, to be headed by the state minister of transport, is also supposed to be involved in charting safety policies, enforcing road safety standards and conducting awareness programmes. All these things are to the paper work level and on ground nothing is being done.
If the figures are calculated without discrepancies, for J&K some two thousand accidents claiming 600 lives have happened in a year.
We should never deny that people are also responsible for such accidents. While traveling neither the driver follow the traffic rules nor the people as they insist to stop the driver for violating the rules. We ourselves are the responsible for overloading. In fact the concerned transport departments have become the “dreaming rabbits”. The state does not value a human being as they end up victims in every corner of the state. Is there any chance the government shall intervene on humanitarian grounds? Is there any chance the concerned departments will exhibit their professional, social and moral duties to save the people?