CELEBRATING ROAD SAFETY WEEK

With Road Safety Week scheduled to be celebrated from 11th Jan to 17th Jan 2018, various authorities from administration as well as the men in uniform have started reviewing the preparations for different activities and events to be conducted in this context. As usual the people as per their past experience do not expect much from the authorities as the significance of this all important issue remains confined to only such functions and paper work without any practical implication or effect observed thereafter around the year. As a routine, road shows will be organized across the state especially in the summer and winter capital cities Srinagar and Jammu. So far as these events are concerned these have a particular objective for achieving certain targets which continue to be dreams unfulfilled despite such events being held every year. It is a fact that such road shows, seminars and other programmes are aimed at creating awareness among public about traffic rules and regulations but it needs to be analysed as to why we face multiplication of traffic woes with every passing day. Traffic chaos has created hell for the commuters across the state especially in Srinagar and Jammu cities. In Srinagar the four wheeler commuters have to bear the brunt even while traversing the city centre roads like the one from Batamaloo to Dalgate despite the flyovers and fairly wide roads consuming their precious hours due to traffic jams. The situation in the City of Temples is still worse as it stands transformed into a hub of business activities especially after Darbar arrives here so much so that despite multiple bridges, fly-overs and express highways, the old Jammu city areas continue to witness repeated traffic jams and congestion. Not only chaos but the entire environment becomes toxic with obnoxious carbon mono oxide emissions from the vehicles. Due to this overcrowded condition on the roads the emergency services are the worst affected. Serious patients cannot reach hospitals while the students going to appear in examinations are at the risk of losing their precious academic year. A number of times the jams have even resulted in loss of precious lives in both the capital cities. Besides this the position on the highways from Jammu to Srinagar, Poonch, Doda and Bhaderwah, besides Srinagar Leh highway and multiple linking highways is no good as these have earned the dubious distinction of being labelled as killer roads keeping in view the unabated accidents resulting in deaths on these highways. As per the statement of CM Mehbooba Mufti on the floor of the House today, a total of 1,749 persons lost their lives in around 10,000 road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir in the past two years, 958 persons killed in 5,501 road accidents in 2016 and as many as 791 persons killed in 4,659 accidents till October, 2017. All this undoubtedly indicates gross dereliction on the part of enforcing agencies be it the men in blue or the Transport authorities or the Road building department, who have a very vital role to play in this regard. It is really surprising that there are no hoardings or boards at the bus stops not to talk of Matador stops. Such hoardings and sign boards will be abruptly visible during the Road Safety week after which these shall vanish into the blue. It is really unfortunate that the Committees of legislators constituted from time to time to recommend measures to address road safety issues continued to submit their recommendations in this regard but nothing plausible transformed on ground till date. In such a scenario it is hoped that the authorities tasked with organizing of Road Safety Week realize the dire need to transform the success of the weeklong celebrations on roads making it a permanent feature and more than that there is a need for nongovernmental organizations to conduct awareness programmes for the departments and authorities entrusted the road safety portfolio as it is these departments and the people manning them who have failed the whole traffic system across the state probably for their petty vested interests. Once these enforcing agencies realize and stick to their respective duties with close coordination amongst them throughout the year, only then the traffic woes will become a thing of the past and road safety week celebrations would prove to be successful.