Road terror

Published at July 18, 2017 01:54 AM 0Comment(s)1243views


Road terror

In J&K mourning seems to have become perennial as tragic incidents strike and leave the state rattled from time to time. The incident of a bus being gorged by Ramban steeps in which 16 pilgrims were killed happens to follow the series of mishaps the state has witnessed lately. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that more people get killed in J&K each year due to road accidents than by any other means. The death rate due to road accidents which has hovered near 1000 deaths is too high to be simply brushed off. The unfortunate part is that different authorities who can most certainly reduce the number of casualties are aware of facts and figures. In Kashmir region, where fatal accidents have long back seized the attention of the government, the rate has been at over 600 deaths in a year. Whether it is the recent accident or the ones before in the same area, Ramban, or similar ones like that of Udhampur that left 11 dead and more than 20 seriously injured, the government response has not changed a bit. As has been witnessed after the tragic incidents in the past, condolences and relief has been pouring in from all sides. Neither condolences nor any relief can bring the departed back, but government and leaders of all shades ought to have learned a lesson years ago, which is still due. Of late there has been some confusion over tackling this peculiar problem – the opinion is divided between whether to make roads safer and to make the driving safe. While government has supported different road safety drives, it has shown lesser concern on making roads safe by adopting latest scientific and engineering (improvised road building) approaches. That too when there is a whole department at its disposal. Sharp curves, speed limiters, road elevations, railings and even presence of officials on the ground escape the official notice until a disaster strikes. It is unrealistic to think of saving the crew after a vehicle goes down the gorges. Nevertheless, it is highly possible that road skids could be prevented particularly in areas that are accident prone. Therefore lamenting the loss, which is becoming quite frequent, will not bring any good. The government and different authorities should put up concerted efforts to prevent the road accidents and reduce the death rate due to accidents in the state. Smooth roads is not enough, the people are entitled to safe roads so that their journeys do not end up at state mourning. There is a fear of travelling on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, and not much is being done.          

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