Monday morning tragic accident of a Mini Bus at Keshwan, near Kishtwar is gut-wrenching to say the least. It took away 35 precious lives in one go and left the remaining 17 battling for lives in various hospitals. PM Modi tweeted his feelings and the Parliament expressed similar concerns. It shows the gravity of the tragedy and calls for strong action. Such accidents are planned murders to my mind because a mini-bus which has the capacity and the permit to carry 25 passengers was carrying more than double the number herded inside and on the roof-top. As an army-man I wonder how such violations occur in broad day-light. Few days ago in similar accident 11 young girl students lost their lives at “Pir-ki-Gali on the Mughal Road near Bafliaz and before that three lives were lost in Road accident in Kathua. But no lessons learnt. The painful stories are unending and so the tweets and platitudes of the big-bigs.
I saw the rescue operation by administration with the assistance of army, the disaster management team and the locals was swift but that doesn’t absolve authorities of negligence. Most of the accidents occur due to untrained and careless drivers. Kishtwar incident is the perfect example. The Governor has directed the RTO to take action against unfit vehicles and untrained drivers. That is too little too late. While my heart goes to the shattered families, I am constrained to compare this accident to Pulwama carnage. Scene was equally appalling. There was a strong reaction against Pulwama. Similarly strong action is warranted against all those who are responsible to enforce traffic rules and regulations.
Lot of army vehicles ply on this road but no such accidents. How such accidents can be controlled is the subject matter of experts. Since they have failed, I feel there is a need to hand over the traffic to the CMP in the hilly areas. Govt should enroll retired army personnel (ESM) in the traffic police and place them under CMP. Rest assure there will be no violations. Embarrassment to the big-bigs and the dangers to precious lives; both will be saved.
Col J P Singh
Chairman DSS ESM Cell, Jammu