Inadequate traffic manpower

In reply to a question, the Chief Minister said on the floor of the house that 25,495 road accidents were reported in the State during the last four years in which 4,453 persons lost their lives and 36,920 others got injured. Out of these, 2401 accidents were reported in Doda district in which 823 persons lost their lives and 3,700 persons were injured. This is most disquieting information and one would not be far from truth in saying that the traffic department has totally failed to control these mishaps for reasons best known to them. In these columns we have so often reacted to the tragic accidents and made a slew of suggestions how to control them. Each time an accident takes place, the authorities come out with one or the other plea and thus try to wriggle out of their responsibility. It is now said that there is insufficient number of traffic police personnel to check road accidents in the hilly areas. This plea is unacceptable. One gets the impression that the government wants to elicit a commitment from the Union Government for financing additional manpower to supervise traffic along hilly and mountainous roads in the State. Maybe the Government eyes employment opportunity for the unemployed youth of the State rather than ensuring security and safety of the passengers travelling in vehicles along the tortuous and hilly roads like those in Kishtwar, Doda and Bhaderwah. More than increasing the manpower, though that aspect will not be contested fiercely, is the question of efficiency and strict adherence to traffic rules and regulations if we want that the number of road accidents should come down drastically. Other than the numbers, there are several sticking issues regarding traffic control like genuine driving license, roadworthiness of the vehicles, functionality of the apparatus, honesty of traffic police etc. that must be addressed first. Enforcement of preventive law is of first and foremost importance to control the road traffic incidents.