Run more SRTC vehicles on Doda routes

Overcrowding of unimaginable proportions in the passenger vehicles plying on Kishtwar, Ramban, Doda routes is largely due to abysmally inadequate number of SRTC vehicles plying there. It is unbelievable that only 20 per cent of the total number of vehicles required on this sensitive route is plying making things very difficult for the troubled passengers. Had this scenario not been so much hopeless and quite messy in respect of availability of the vehicles, probably the most shocking accident would have not taken place in Kishtwar on July 1 killing 35 and injuring more than 16 passengers.
A proposal to augmenting the number of SRTC fleet in erstwhile Doda district has till date not received any attention of the State Government while reports are that many buses are idling in their yards but are not put to active use by running them on such routes which require them badly. What happened to those 58 routes which were identified for immediate deployment of buses of the corporation is not known excepting , of course, the patch work repairing and ad-hoc measures approach hovering round a non -serious and non professional way towards solving the problem of recurring road accidents especially in this sector. We had, through our columns, right on March 18, this year virtually forewarned the State administration of the brewing threat of tragic accidents in this critical route as there were only 14 buses plying on a route requiring at least seven times as many, depending on the number of passengers travelling on this route.
A breakup of which route was requiring how many minimum vehicles, based on the realistic demands and the requirements of the people residing in the concerned areas, was already furnished to the Government which otherwise, getting feedback from its own sources, was fully in know of the requirement versus the availability of the vehicles but the fact that no action so far has been taken, is really baffling. It is not that there was no road connectivity between the areas as most of the roads have already been completed under the Central sponsored Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) but it was the question of the mindset and the culture of sitting over the matter . Despite knowing all the facts of the issue concerned, inaction of the Government is tantamount to its complicity in the causes leading to horrible accidents, the latest one at Keshwan – Kishtwar, the route of which was among 29 other routes identified by none else than the field personnel of the SRTC requiring their bus services. Government can afford ex-gratia in lacs of Rupees after the precious lives are unfortunately snuffed in tragic road accidents but cannot spend a fraction of that amount on those vehicles to compensate for any losses in revenues earned, if any, to ferry them to and fro, seems quite ludicrous.
Has the fleet of the vehicles with the Corporation got depleted and replenishing the same not given any preference which again not only means losing the commercial interests rather foregoing the stake knowingly in favour of the private vendors or transporters but shirking its responsibility as the service provider of the first sort . Plying of the SRTC buses is also for another but very less known fact and that is the rate of accidents of this fleet traditionally being the lowest in the country especially on critical hilly routes , depicting the sense of utter responsibility and professional acumen of those who are on the wheels of its buses. We hope that the biggest contribution towards averting recurring accidents on the routes, from the Government would be plying of reasonably sufficient number of the SRTC buses.