No relief from deadly road accidents in JK

Ishtiyaq Kar

Srinagar, Jun 27: Since several decades now, road accidents have claimed hundreds of innocent lives in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

On Tuesday alone as per the reports, eight persons were killed and sixteen others injured after three vehicles skidded off the road and plunged into deep gorges in the hilly Doda and Ramban districts of Jammu and Kashmir in three separate incidents.

The Citizens believe that the roads particularly in high-altitude areas need immediate attention from the government.

“Scores of people die due to road accidents in Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Kishtwar, Rambhan and Doda every winter. In many spots, the roads are narrow and need to be widened. Similarly, fencing and macadamization are also required to be done in higher reaches so that such incidents can be prevented,” said Mohmmad Yousf, a senior resident of Kishtwar.

“The lack of vigil leads to rash driving on the worst roads of these areas resulting in accidents every now and then and helpless passengers can’t do anything about it as their work engagements require them to travel every day despite them being fully aware of the dangers involved,” Yousf added.

According to the reports, preliminary analysis suggested that the accidents were concentrated around highways which are far removed from many city areas.

Experts suggest a host of reasons behind rising accidents. From rash-driving to poor road planning and inadequate law enforcement, there are many factors responsible for the rise in accidents.

“ I believe in most of the road accident cases, reportedly only few erring drivers have been brought to justice. And majority of these cases, particularly involving accidents on the highways, are closed as ‘not traced”, Mohmmad Aslam a senior citizen here in Srinagar, said.

According to the insiders in the transport department, providing the licenses after spending some money was one of the biggest factors behind the reckless driving in the past years, as licenses were issued even to minors and untrained drivers who get it without the mandatory driving tests. “But now the system is transparent and the licenses are issued only after completing all the formalities including the driving test,” the officials added.

Sources said that Jammu and Kashmir also topped the list of “high accidental death-prone areas” in a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) survey conducted in 2013, which found that an accident in Jammu And Kashmir State has a 64 percent chance of causing death as opposed to 36.4 percent for all of India.

“This is a public health emergency that requires immediate action. We are slowly waking up to the fact that we lead in road crash deaths and injuries. Unfortunately, we are at a primitive stage of resolving this issue. We are still trying to understand that every road death is preventable, and that there are solutions which have been tried, tested and found to be successful in outside countries. To defeat this growing menace of road traffic accidents, there is an immediate need to take some determined action today”, suggests one of the social activists.

 Meanwhile, as per the reports highlighted by the local media, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed as many as 76,942 road accidents between 2010 and 2022 in which 12,429 people were killed, while 1,04,983 individuals were injured, the latest data released by the traffic police revealed Thursday.

Quoting the traffic police data, the reports had said that in 12 last years, on an average, more than 12000 people died and 8748 were injured due to accidents of different nature across the Union Territory.

Inter district routes of the hilly areas are so dangerous and consume so many lives on a daily routine due to slides and other bad road conditions apart from rash and unprofessional driving.

As per data compiled by the traffic department, in 2010, a total of 1073 persons were killed while 8655 people were injured in 6120 accidents.

In 2011, 1121 persons were killed and 9944 injured in a total 6644 accidents. In 2012, the death toll rose to 1165, while 9755 persons were injured in 6709 road accidents.

In 2013, 990 persons died, around 8681 persons were injured in 6469 accidents.

In 2014, 992 persons were injured and 8043 were injured in 5861 accidents.

In 2015, 917 people were injured and 8142 persons were injured in 5836 accidents.

In 2016, 958 were killed and 7677 were injured in 5501 accidents. In 2017, 926 were killed and the injured were 7419 in 5624 accidents. In 2018, 984 people were injured and 7845 injured in 5978 accidents. In 2019, a total of 996 persons were killed, 7532 were injured in 5796 accidents.

In 2020 and 2021, the two years of COVID pandemic, 728 and 774 people were killed respectively. As many as 5894 persons were injured in 4860 accidents during 2020 while 6972 were injured 5452 during 2021. The accident graph again shows an upward trend and the number of accidents shoot-up to 805 in 2022. Moreover, 8372 people were injured in 6092accidnets during this period.

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