Fatal road accidents have become a routine affair in the J&K Union Territory taking toll of substantial lives every year with seven deaths and injuries to many in Doda and Samba districts in two days. It seems that the government does not seem to be moving at the desired pace to address this serious issue concerning the people especially those travelling in vehicles on hilly routes. The authorities do mere lip service for few days and announce ex-gratia in favour of the victims and their families. Each time an accident results in deaths, those in governance especially in the erstwhile State of J&K promised the moon to ensure that the rate of road accidents in the state is reduced to a bare minimum but it is quite unfortunate that the tempo built at the time of accident seems to wane away within a few days. The end result is that the rate of fatal road accidents continues to maintain an upward graph till date. It is a fact that there are adequate laws, rules and regulations to keep check on the road mishaps but it is the enforcement agency that exhibit criminal negligence in performance of their duties on the roads be it the men in blue or the transport authorities.
Despite the judiciary also having taken serious note of such lapses the administration doesn’t seem to be bothered too much. The judiciary playing its role superbly from time to time can be well gauged from the orders and decisions pronounced in various accident cases. It needs to be acknowledged that those operating buses especially on National Highways and hilly routes knowing well the dangerous topography do not hesitate in overloading these buses beyond capacity with roof tops also full with passengers sit- ting on them besides speeding vehicles at the cost of passengers’ lives. It is here that laxity or probably the unholy nexus of the enforcement agencies with the operators can’t be ruled out. The prevailing situation exposes the tragic traffic chaos and treacherously unsafe public transportation. It would not be wrong to state that the passengers are falling victims to the besetting sin of our highways which are more like fatal facilities than the means of mobility. There is every justification for the people to rue the laxity on the part of concerned authorities as more deaths are caused by road accidents than by diseases so much so that the Indian highways are among the top killers of the country today. It seems as if traffic regulations are virtually dead and police checking mostly absent. By these processes of lawlessness, public roads are now lurking death traps. It is hoped that the concerned authorities take notice of the significant observations of the Judiciary and the J&K UT Administration rises to the occasion given the gravity of the situation. It must initiate urgent measures to ensure road safety through active police presence beyond frozen indifference, through mobilization of popular organizations in field of road safety, frightening publicity for gruesome accidents and promotion of strict driving licensing and rigorous vehicle invigilation, failing which precious human lives will continue to be lost due to the criminal negligence of the enforcement agencies.