One more tragic road accident

Our concern over recurring and tragic road accidents especially in hilly areas of Jammu division and the dire need to go in for preventive measures as far as possible are conveyed through these lines regularly. How long shall this process go in virtually unabated way intermittently especially at hilly and mountainous areas like recently at Chatroo in Kishtwar district claiming eight precious lives and causing injuries to others. A general analysis of such accidents in Jammu division reveals certain common factors. One- these accidents take place mostly on hilly roads. Two- the vehicles are usually overloaded as people want to return home at the earliest as indicated by the time of the accident being around 4 pm. Three- there is usually no traffic checking squad or any other arrangement from Transport Department to regulate traffic on vulnerable hilly roads. Four- the road worthiness in such areas is pitiably pathetic. Five – no public transport vehicle has on display in the vehicle itself any particulars about the date of latest certifying of fitness of the vehicle. Six – very often drivers are not in possession of, as probably they are not austerely issued, the hill driving licence. Last but not least, fewer passenger vehicles in such areas lead to scramble by the waiting passengers to catch the available one, even if ”stuffed” with passengers.
The condition of the wreckage, whatever remained of the ill-fated vehicle, reveals all which probably cannot precisely be described as to what the victims must have been subjected to while rolling down of the vehicle to plunge into a deep gorge. Seven people having been found already dead on the spot and the eighth succumbing to grievous injuries describes the severity of the mishap. How can the driver at the wheel lose control of the vehicle unless the vehicle was too much overloaded coupled with other factors including defective performing machinery of the vehicle. May be just to cover up these two main aspects, different theories mainly that the driver lost control, are floated.
We had many a time, suggested that at all those vulnerable and sensitive points along the hilly roads especially where vehicles have to negotiate a turn, concrete parapets may be erected which serve both as a sort of confidence in a driver and even absorb the impact of a possible skidding off the road of a vehicle . Agreed, looking to the length of such hilly roads appreciable cost is involved but just for saving lives and minimising the trauma and intensity of a ”fated” mishap, such parapets can prove of immense help.
Let this accident not become ”new” additional part of mere statistics of road accidents so that different agencies do their formalities of assimilating data but beyond expressing condolences and deep pain, a high level probe be instituted as the surviving passengers can reveal much about what exactly led to an accident of this severity. In the meantime, let an appraisal of what “Action Taken Report” was filed by the enquiring agencies in respect of the previous tragic accidents recalling which causes lot of agony and horror. We feel nothing of the sort beyond granting ex-gratia, has been done which, we are afraid, shall hardly lead to preventing of such accidents in future. The tragedy is that very often, the victims of such accidents happen to be the only bread earners in the family. While our hearts go out to the bereaved families, at the same time we request the UT Administration to bring in necessary required drastic changes in the system governing traffic management on such hilly and sensitive roads in Jammu and Kashmir.