The people were still mourning the death of eleven girls on Mughal Road near Peer Ki Gali, when another tragic news pertaining to death of 35 passengers travelling in a mini-bus from Keshwan to Kishtwar spread like wild fire in the State.
On one side the Government has been certifying that the road connectivity is being made, mecadamization of roads is taking place involving expenditure in crores so that the people of the state can travel without fear. On the other side, people are complaining to restore position of the deplorable roads, to stop the plying of dilapidated vehicles on the roads, to macadamize the roads and to take cognizance of overloading especially in the accident prone Chenab and Pir Panjal region.
The J&K Government had last year introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Council Bill, 2018, advocating the formation of a State Road Safety Council. According to the bill, the proposed council will be responsible for ensuring road safety across the state and will advise the State Government on transport safety measures. The council, to be headed by the state minister of transport, is also supposed to be involved in charting safety policies, enforcing road safety standards and conducting awareness programmes. All that has remained confined to paper work only, and nothing is being done on the ground. The current year has witnessed two thousand accidents and claimed 600 lives.The number of injured is not known.
It is an admitted fact that we people are also responsible for such accidents equally. While traveling neither the driver follows the traffic rules nor we people insist ourselves to stop the driver for violating the rules. We ourselves are responsible for overloading. Actually this state has no regard for a human being as such the people become victims of inattention in every corner. Is there any chance that the Government shall intervene on the humanitarian grounds? Is there any chance that the Government shall wake up for humanity? Is there any chance the concerned departments will show their moral duties?As things stand today, there is no hope from any quarter.
Mohd Rafi Malik
Sad news of a tragic road accident near Kishtwar on 1 July 2019, covered in details in your esteemed daily on 2nd July; stirred the nation as the incident reverberated in Parliament. Emotional feelings and sympathy with the bereaved/shattered families is a natural fallout and so is the public outrage. The tragedy had Prime Minister Modi and Governor Malik voicing their feelings. But that is just not enough because it is not the first of its kind. There has been numerous such accidents in the past in erstwhile Doda district taking away innocent lives in large numbers each time.
The causes invariably had been overloading. In this case also a mini bus accident at Keshwan took away 35 precious lives including 15 women. 15 and some say 18 injured are battling for life in various hospitals. A mini-bus is supposed to carry maximum 25 passengers because its capacity is that much. 35 plus 18 is 53. How and why 53 passengers were herded in the mini-bus? Is driver answerable for it or the Govt agencies which are mandated to enforced traffic rules. Since it is umpteenth such accident, no lessons seem to have been learnt from the previous lapses. The Governor’s reaction and directions are too little too late.
Accidents will keep happening and people will keep dying because of the obvious lapses of the Traffic Police in enforcing traffic rules for the reasons best known to them. On this tragic occasion, through your popular daily, I urges the Govt to take following actions to prevent such happenings and consequent loss of lives (i) strictly enforce traffic rules and regulations (ii) periodically checkability and skills of the drivers (iii) Employ maximum mobile traffic judges to monitor violations and award on the spot penalty (iv) Relook and rehash policy of issue of learners and permanent driving licenses. (v) Disband or discipline the traffic police.
Mohan Malagar (Mohini)
Media Secretary DSSP Jammu