Increasing road accidents in J&K

Omkar Dattatray

The alarming increase in the road accidents has become a talk of town these days in Jammu and Kashmir and it is very shocking because it leads to the killings of the innocent precious lives and also injuries to many. Unfortunately J&K is facing road accidents almost daily and it is a cause of utmost and grave concern to the government of the Union Territory and the general public as well. Hundreds of precious lives are lost in these road accidents, which is really very sad. In reality, these accidents take a heavy toll of precious human lives. The road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir are hogging the TV and radio headlines. As one switches on the TV or radio one hears the bad news of some road accident taking place and the passengers been killed and some injured. It is hair raising for the people to hear the bad news about the unfortunate road accidents on the national highway near other Ramban, Banihal, Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhmpur, Katua, Samba and where not. The road accidents take place everywhere in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir and innocent human lives are lost in these road accidents. During the last one year there has been a steep increase in road accidents in J&K with a large number of the people losing their lives as a result of the accidents and falling victim to these accidents. A big number of the passengers get injured in the road accidents and some are handicapped as they lose legs and some lose hands. It is a harrowing seen to see the accidents and the rescue operations militancy related deaths in 2021.The figures reveal that last year 728 people were killed and 5894 were injured in road accidents in J&K while the number was 996 deaths in 2020. Over 8000 accidents and 1750 deaths on Srinagar-Jammu highway in the past decade had happened and experts blame bad engineering for all such catastrophe. In three years highway accidents claimed 2708 lives in J&K in 16834 fatal road accidents on highways. A day before writing this write up there was a car accident in Ramban in which a car collided with a container and three people lost their lives including national level women players. Besides on the same day an accident took place in Kathua in which two persons were killed. Thus the situation is alarming and the government needs to take these road accidents very seriously. The government needs to take serious view of these road accidents which have become almost a daily occurrence. The government should exert its pressure and show its existence by taking concrete steps to prevent and reduce the accidents. The increasing number of accidents is a big challenge to the government especially to the traffic department and traffic police. But the government and traffic and executive police only cannot prevent and reduce road accidents. The Transport operators, bus drivers, conductors and the general people should play their positive role and cooperate with the governmental agencies to reduce and prevent road accidents. The shabby condition of majority of roads particularly the road between Ramban and Banihal is vulnerable to road accidents so often and therefore steps need to be taken to improve the condition of roads and macadamize the roads on priority so that the roads become accident free. Another reason which is the cause of the road accidents is overloading and over speeding .The buses ply on the roads jam-packed and the speed of the buses and matadors is very fast which more often than not result in shocking road accidents which consume a big number of the innocent passengers. The use of alcohol while driving is the main cause of the road accidents and the drivers should not take whine while driving because it leads to accidents and loss of human lives and also to serious and ordinary injuries. The government should improve the condition of roads and also should not allow the drivers to run vehicles in drunken condition. Those drivers who are driving vehicles while drinking should be challenged and punished and their licenses should be withdrawn. The drivers should be Challaned or fined on spot for over speeding. Moreover those drivers who indulge in overloading should also be Challaned or alternatively fined so that the accidents will not happen and shock the people. The accident scenes are heart rending and heart wrenching and as such these should not be allowed to happen. For this the government, its traffic department should take all the necessary steps to arrest the trend of increasing accidents so that the precious lives of the passengers are saved. The pertinent question is why the accidents take place at an alarming rate and continuously? There is no single cause which contributes to increased number of road accidents but a multiplicity of causes lead to road accidents. The rash driving and over speeding is a very important cause of road accidents. The drivers are habitual of driving the vehicles at a fast speed unmindful of its dangers and consequences and it often results in accidents which consume lives of the people travelling in the vehicles which are operated at a high speed. Similarly overloading and jam packed vehicles is a dominant cause of the happening of the accidents. The bus and matador operators often indulge in overloading for making quick money and this often than not result in accidents which cause the loss of lives and also leads to injuries to many passengers. The drinking and consumption of alcohol and driving vehicles in drunken condition is a major cause of accidents. The drivers often use and take alcohol while driving and this mixing of alcohol and driving leads to accidents so often. The shabby roads is also a cause of the accidents because some roads are damaged and are in a very bad condition and plying of the vehicles on such roads is often risky and leads to accidents which are avoidable if proper caution and alertness is shown and adopted. The rash driving coupled with the habit and practice of overtaking often causes accidents which lead to the loss of precious human lives and also injuries to many. The governor of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had constituted a high powered committee to probe the road accidents and suggest the measures to avoid these rising road accidents and one does not know the fate of this committee. The present UT government should frame a committee of experts to probe the cause of increasing accidents and find ways and means to avoid increasing number of accidents in future so that the lives of the passengers are saved. There is need to implement and use traffic laws and regulations to regulate the movement of traffic especially on the national highway of Jammu-Srinagar to avoid the increasing road accidents. Those drivers who indulge in rash driving should be taken to task and their licenses should be seized and they should also be Challaned and also fined to make them to adhere to traffic rules and laws so that the accidents will be at the first instance avoided or minimized so that its impact will be less on the people. In the same way those drivers who do overloading should be either be fined or Challaned in the court of law for disobedience of overloading .The jam packed buses and matadors should not be allowed to ply on the busy roads so that the accidents will be avoided. The drivers who are found drunk while driving any vehicle should be penalized by fining them with handsome amounts, so that they may not drink while driving. Alternatively those drivers who resort to drinking while driving should be Challaned for the crime of taking wine while driving. Those drivers who use alcohol while driving expose the passengers to high risk of accidents and in most of the cases the accidents happen and take a toll of the innocent and precious lives. Therefore, as far as possible alcohol should not be consumed while driving as it more often than not led to accidents which h otherwise were avoidable but for the bad habit of drinking. So, driving and drinking should both be avoided and this will go a long way to save the lives of the passengers. The traffic cops should take stringent action against the traffic rule violators and they should make accident free journey possible by reminding the drivers and conductors of the right way to operate the vehicles. The laws only will not make significant improvement in the traffic management but there should be information and awareness about the traffic laws and regulations among the general public. Thus there is need to arrange traffic awareness programmes in schools, colleges and universities so that the people on their own will show respect and regard to traffic laws and they are made aware about the dangers and hazards of the accidents. Moreover training courses should be conducted for the drivers, conductors and other persons associated with the transport and driving. No one should be allowed to drive a vehicle without [proper license. Only government cannot make it possible to avoid the recurrent and continuous accidents but the general masses should also play their role in curbing road accidents so that the human lives which are very precious are saved. The general public should cooperate with the governmental agencies to ensure that the alarming increase in road accidents is avoided. To conclude it can be said that in the present age of science and technology road accidents have no place and these should not happen at all. For this the government, traffic department, traffic police & the executive police as well as the common masses should cooperate to ensure that the road accidents are avoided or are minimized to save the precious human lives.

(The author is a columnist social and KP activist).

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