`Killer roads have claimed more lives in JK than militancy’
Fifty-five thousand (55000) road accidents, according to official data claimed 10000 lives and left thousands wounded in Jammu Kashmir especially in Chenab Region and Kashmir Valley in the past decade.
Admitting flaws in the system, a top official preferring anonymity linked increased road accidents to overloading of passenger vehicles, absence of crash barriers, bad roads and inadequate passenger transport.
He said Jammu and Kashmir, and especially Chenab region and the Valley, is a geographically disadvantaged area where hilly terrain makes vehicular traffic prone to accidents that often prove deadly.
An official statement stating road accidents claimed more lives than militancy merits special mention. This statement reflects the gravity of the problem which the administration has so far failed to address.
November accidents in the Chenab region have claimed more than thirty lives. On July 1, at least 35 people were killed and 17 injured when a minibus plunged into a deep gorge at Keshwan in Kishtwar district of the state. Against the seating capacity of 25, the bus was carrying 55 passengers.
It is widely believed that successive governments have failed to devise a road policy that could have prevented such massive tragedies.
A road policy chalked out by the state government mentions that a multi-pronged strategy such as upgrading of roads, installing signboards, crash barriers, implementation of traffic regulations and increasing number of buses is required to check road accidents, Pertinently millions have been spent on improving the condition of roads and enhancing safety measures without results.
The increased accidents and the number of deaths corroborate these accusations.
A senior police officer said: “We have installed crash barriers along some dangerous stretches but you can’t guard all roads. Drivers also have a responsibility towards ensuring the safety of passengers,” the officer said.
“We are going to introduce more buses in other parts of the state for convenience of passengers. However, to prevent accidents, better coordination is among district administrations, traffic police and transport department is very important,” a senior government officer said.