J&K Road Safety Council violating Governor’s directives, fails to meet during past 10 months

Even Committees at district level not meeting regularly

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 24: In utter disregard to the repeated directives of the Governor, Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Council has failed to meet during the past over 10 months although it was supposed to hold deliberations on the aspects leading to tragic road accidents in the length and breadth of the State at least once in every quarter. Moreover, the new framework of the Council approved by the State Legislature in the month of February this year in order to check the menace with iron hands has not been put in place by the authorities of the concerned departments till now.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that on February 14, 2015, Governor N N Vohra, while chairing a specially convened meeting, had expressed serious concern over failure to the concerned authorities to conduct meetings of J&K Road Safety Council after regular intervals for thorough deliberations on the issues, suggest remedial measures and review action taken on the decisions by the concerned departments as road safety is a multi-agency task.
Accordingly, Governor had directed that J&K Road Safety Council should meet in every quarter to review the implementation of decisions taken in the previous meetings and make necessary directions to the concerned departments. Similarly, he directed Divisional Commissioners to ensure that meetings of the District Road Safety Committees are held on monthly basis by the concerned Deputy Commissioners.
“Though some meetings of the Council were held following the directions of the Governor but with the passage of time administrative inertia again prevailed and the outcome of the same is that no meeting of the J&K Road Safety Council has been convened during the past over 10 months”, sources said while mentioning that the last meeting of the Council was held in the month of August last year.
Due to non-holding of any meeting of the Council since August last year, progress on the decisions taken in last meeting could not be ascertained, they further said, adding in the last meeting Chief Secretary, who was chairing the meeting, had stressed on expediting the work on establishment of Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) and Inspection and Certificate Centre but the Council is unaware of the development on this aspect.
“By not convening any meeting during past 10 months the concerned authorities have violated the explicit directives of the Governor N N Vohra, who is concerned over loss of huge lives in the tragic road accidents and always express annoyance over dilly-dallying approach of the concerned authorities in handling the grave issue”, sources said while disclosing that even District Road Safety Committees are not meeting regularly although they are supposed to meet once in every month as per the directions issued in February 2015.
In the month of February this year, the State Legislature gave more powers to the J&K Road Safety Council by enacting a special law on the subject of road safety. Following the enactment of the law, a new framework was supposed to be put in place by the concerned authorities by reconstituting the Council as per the provisions of the law.
However, the new framework has not been put in place till date, sources disclosed, adding “discussion between Law Department and Road Safety Council Secretariat is still going on about certain aspects including framing of rules etc”. They, however, expressed inability to specify time-frame for completion of this exercise. “Even Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Fund has not been established till date despite the fact that the same is required for effective road safety programmes, awareness, research, trauma care programmes and correction of black spots”, sources further said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Fund shall be non-lapsable and grant in-aid from the State Government, grants/ loans/ advances from the Central Government, contribution from public/private institutions and special cess collected from all types of motor vehicles shall be credited to this Road Safety Fund.
When contacted, an officer of the Road Safety Council said, “basically delay in convening meeting of Road Safety Council is due to time being taken in putting in place new framework following enactment of law by the Legislature. Hopefully, the process will be completed shortly”.