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Indefinable Road Safety

The people of the State are inching towards a highly disappointing and indefinable prospect of road safety. For years at end we have been lamenting over the negligence of authorities at the helm of affairs in providing traffic safety along the hilly and tortuous roads of the State. There are numerous components of road safety like good and smart roads preferably with four lanes, efficient control of road traffic by traffic police, periodical testing of road-worthiness of the passenger vehicles, good road signals and functional red lights at crossings and other vulnerable points, proper checking of driving licenses and identification of drivers, first aid facilities, checks on overloading and fast driving and overtaking and many more things. All these are the matters which the Traffic Police and Transport Department are supposed to handle though of course a good and smart road is the realm of PWD or Border Roads Organization.
We have the Road Safety Council in the State and the State Transport Department and we have the District Road Safety Committees. Then we are asking for District Road Safety Plans and we have Road Traffic Department. This is the overall picture of the road traffic establishment. We are not asking the question why such an elaborate structure and why poor results. We are asking whether there is any cohesion among all these stakeholders and functional organs. The answer is far from satisfactory. Deputy Commissioners were told to submit the District Road Safety Plans because the traffic and road status in districts are not uniform. The inefficiency of some of the defaulting DCs is to the extent that not a single meeting of District Road Safety Committees has been held leave aside submitting a comprehensive status report.
Simultaneously, the Government had asked the PWD to come up with a comprehensive Road Safety Plan and its activity regarding improving the damaged roads by landslides and rains. The PWD has not lagged behind some of the defaulting DCs in pushing the instructions under the carpet. How then are we to expect that traffic accidents will be controlled and road safety measures implemented. Not to speak of other things, even the meetings of the State Road Safety Council are not held as laid down in the procedures. The Governor, during his short tenure of holding the reins of the administration had issued orders that the Council should meet quarterly. Government never followed those instructions.
The simple inference one can draw from this scenario is that the authorities are not really serious about checking occurrence of road accidents. Road traffic performance is under the public scanner and we have no intention of hiding the facts from public gaze.


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