Post by on Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Comes the summer and the road repair/restoration work witnesses a full swing in valley given the fact that roads in Kashmir receive a severe beating in winter period. It is a stark reality that none of the roads in Jammu and Kashmir qualify to be called as ‘all weather’ roads. Leaving aside the southern regions where climate does not affect that much, in Kashmir Valley cold temperature and heavy snow leave most of the roads impaired. Regular road maintenance as such is important and the exercise is supposed to continue throughout the year. Instant fixing of roads and to make them fit for traffic also follows the fact that the region being rough and hilly is prone to accidents and therefore fatalities. Every year road accidents wreak havoc in the UT as small and heavy vehicles all are engulfed by gorges and ravines. According to J&K Traffic Police Department, in 2021, 713 persons lost their precious lives in road accidents. These figures give a clear idea as how dangerous the roads have become and how much important it is to control further damage. Unfortunately, the calamities do not strike due to weather beaten or narrow roads alone. The overall road safety measures observed by the people here are fewer compared to the standards observed outside the UT. Also, in several developing countries, as they tend to face similar challenges owing to substantial growth in both the population and number of automobiles, they have started borrowing ideas from science and technology to maximize safety net for roads and minimize casualties. For instance, spots where drivers have difficulty negotiating curves are identified and the entire design concept with scientific aid is changed to improve the margin of error. In J&K, particularly in Kashmir valley where thousands of blind spots or curves are present, there is narrow margin to err. Vehicles colliding, skidding and turning turtle are often reported, for which the people have to pay the price. Conformity to approved standards and road safety measures continue to be ignored. Meanwhile, concerned authorities have done little over the years to change the situation. Many experts are of the opinion that road accidents take more lives than any other incidents in the valley. This summer government needs to focus on ensuring proper construction of roads on safety parameters by eliminating danger spots. The people are entitled to safe roads so that their journeys do not end up in disasters.Saving lives, which obviously takes precedence, calls for greater attention to road accidents and regular catastrophes. Being apolitical, it exposes the hypocrisy about the concern shared to save lives in Kashmir. If the state can afford or accede to the demand of being heavily militarized with elephantine budget, why can’t there be proper plans to make roads safe? The governments seem to be more concerned about saving less number of people from bullets than more from road accidents.