Government needs to act
On Saturday last the killer roads in Jammu and Kashmir consumed another 21 lives as an overcrowded mini-bus fell into a 200-ft-deep gorge at Kela Morh near Maroof in Ramban.
While 15 persons died on-the-spot, six others succumbed to injuries at different hospitals including one at Army hospital where he was admitted after being airlifted from the accident site.
The Jammu Srinagar highway is becoming a major concern as every now and then precious lives are lost to road mishaps. The highway road especially in Udhampur and Ramban districts are so vulnerable that every week we get to hear about road mishaps leading to more deaths.
The road mishaps also remind us about the killer roads in the Chenad valley where killings due to road mishaps has become an order of the day. Hardly a day passes when the news about killings due to road mishaps in this area is not reported.
Besides, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway the 110-km Batote-Kishtwar highway is turning into a death trap. For years, people at the helm of affairs have turned a blind eye to this burning issue and practically did nothing to take action against the negligent elements within the administration.
The roads in most of the hilly areas in Jammu and Kashmir are consuming lives without a pause. Every year hundreds of lives are lost in road accidents in Chenab valley. The highest number of road mishaps take place in Chenab valley region of Jammu comprising three districts of Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban.
While travelling on this highway, commuters remain under a constant threat of shooting stones and landslides. It is like a death trap and people have to go through it. The authorities have been seen sitting as mute spectators while number of accidents are happening on daily basis.
The rise in road traffic without increase of road network has also been one of the factors responsible for traffic mishaps. Representatives and authorities need to put their heads together to come out with some corrective measures which can result in saving hundreds of precious lives, lost otherwise in avoidable road accidents. As most of the accidents are blamed to rash and negligent driving for this Government should rise to the occasion, and initiate such measures which can make a difference on the ground so that precious lives can be saved.
What is ironic is that the government is sitting over a report of the house committee of Jammu and Kashmir assembly which had recommended several measures for checking the road accidents in the hilly area during the reign of Omar Abdullah led NC-Congress coalition government. The action taken report though had to be tabled in the J&K assembly within six months, is still gathering dust in the office of the transport department.
The erstwhile Omar led NC-Congress coalition government had constituted a committee headed by MLA Kulgam M Y Tarigami which had recommended measures for checking the rise in road accidents in the Ramban area.
The committee in its recommendations had suggested setting up of driving schools for drivers and emergency hospitals with latest facilities in the Ramban area. The committee had also suggested condemnation of old vehicles, stringent measures for stopping overloading on the passenger busses and road widening of all the main and arterial roads connecting Jammu-Srinagar highway with different hilly areas of Ramban district.
However, as usual the government has taken a casual view of the report and has ignored the colossal loss of lives due to road mishaps. The issue needs a serious effort from the government as killings due to road mishaps cannot be ignored anymore.