Road Safety Council

The Road Safety Council, which was created after innumerable deliberations on recurring road accidents along NH-1 and its arteries particularly Batote-Kishtwar and Ramnagar roads, was to adopt practical measures that would brig down the rate of road accidents and lay down the norms for passenger traffic along these roads In fact before the PDP-BJP Government was formed, and the State was under Governor’s rule, N N Vohra, while chairing J&K Road Safety Council meeting at Civil Secretariat on February 14, 2015 had passed numerous directions to different departments for initiating measures with the objective of checking alarming rise in the road accidents. Some of these directions were introduced but with the passage of time and passing of the government into the hands of the popular Government, implementation of the directives was gradually neglected and consigned to oblivion. For example, the one directive that was implemented at that time was setting up of Lead Agency to act as the Secretariat of the State Road Safety Council with the sole objective of initiating measures to promote road safety. But the Council has neither been provided independent space for secretariat nor the requisite manpower enabling it to discharge the duties assigned to it. The Secretariat was supposed to coordinate all activities related to road safety and also liaison with various departments that were identified to have relevance to road safety. The staff of the secretariat was supposed to comprise one Additional Secretary (an officer holding the Selection Grade of KAS to be deputed by the GAD), two Additional Secretaries-Technical (one an SSP level officer to be deputed by the Home Department and another a Superintending Engineer level officer to be deputed by the R&B Department) besides one Under Secretary, Statistical Officer, Head Assistant, Personal Assistant and Senior Assistant. The man power in full has not been provided so far. Road Safety Policy and Road Safety Fund, the components that were also recommended at the time of constitution the Commission, too, have been left uncared for.
This situation suggests that there is no real concern for road safety with official circles and all that is done at the end of an accident taking innocent lives is to shed crocodile’s tears. The purpose of constituting the Road Safety Council remains defeated because it is left almost paralyzed. The good news is that the Governor has asked the Chief Secretary to examine the status of the instructions he had issued in the meeting of the Road Safety Council held on 14 February 2015. These instructions should be implemented in letter and in spirit and the Council should be made fully and practically functional. We cannot afford to go on loosing innocent people in road accidents and sit idly doing nothing to control the situation.

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