It is tragic that people, young and children should become the victims of road accident owing to human error as well as human negligence. In a road accident happened in Mahore tehsil of district Reasi Tempo carrying 25 passengers skidded off the road and fell down into 300 feet deep nullah killing ten passengers including four children. It is indeed a tragedy beyond one’s endurance, The story that has come down to us so far through our sources is that the fast driving tempo driver tried to negotiate a pothole on the road and in the process lost control and the resultant tragedy in the loss of precious lives.
This is not the first time that we are writing on a road accident and tragic deaths. We have been writing umpteen times and yet what is still lacking is the action by Traffic and Government authorities to overcome the main causes of road accidents, Potholes show the negligence of the PWD functionaries. The condition of roads in our rural areas is pitiable and this one is not the only case. There is no accountability and there is no fixing of responsibility. The Chief Minister has exuded patent anguish and sympathy and done the best she could of ordering the Health Department to provide best medical treatment to the injured people especially those in a critical condition, A responsible authority with qualms of conscience would summon the traffic, PWD and police and other concerned authorities and ask them to fix the responsibility within two hours and in next half an hour take action against the defaulters. Why is the road left with potholes and where are the PWD authorities. Where is the feasibility and road worthiness report about the Tempo that has become the killer tempo for these innocent persons. Did the traffic police ensure that the driver was experienced and license holder and that he had been driving on hilly roads. Did the traffic authorities ensure that the Tempo that carried the passengers was in fit condition?
There has to be a system for the vehicles plying on mountainous roads. For each sector there should be a Vehicle Permission agency that will check a few things before any passenger vehicle proceeds on journey along hilly track. The few things that need to be checked is the condition of the vehicle, genuineness of driving documents of the driver, inspection of breaks and control on speed in speedometer. Further, the history of the driver’s antecedents should also be checked before he proceeds on a journey. This will entail additional manpower to handle the process but that has to be done to save the lives of innocent people. Frequent recurrence of road accidents brings a bad name to the Traffic Department. Most of our roads are hilly and extraordinary care has to be taken to ply on these tortuous roads.
It is also important that people are educated about travelling along the hilly roads. The passengers have a duty to stop the driver from rash driving or overtaking in speed. The passengers have also to be careful not to overload the vehicle and if there is overloading they have to report to the traffic police. Stopping road accidents from happening is a joint responsibility of the traffic police, the drivers and the passengers. If concerted efforts are made many accidents can be avoided. Of course, the Government will give the bereaved families ex-gratia relief but the loss of human lives cannot be made good. We know that ever year there are conferences organized by the Traffic Department to obtain suggestions of how road safety can be ensured foolproof but these conferences have not produced any tangible result so far and accidents continue to happen and innocent passengers continue to get killed. It is pathetic and it is tragic. Whatever the ground situation, people are getting fed up with the traffic police and the way the Government runs the department. It calls for drastic change actually the overhauling for the department.