he recurrent road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir have become a major concern, not a single day passes when we don’t lose at least one precious life to such accidents.
There are hundreds of reasons due to which accidents happen, but the major cause seems decades old roads, with no widening. Look at the widening work on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which started in 2011. But missed several deadlines.
Officials were of the opinion that the issues related to land acquisition, removal of structures, and shifting of power transmission towers need to be expedited. It was also noted that delay in the process of shifting of towers and felling of trees causing unnecessary hindrances in the smooth progress of work. But still if the administration will act, it’s not that much hectic.
With our administrations failure to make our roads safer, we seem to have gained the notoriety of recording highest percentage of unnatural deaths in the country. NH 44 has also earned a sobriquet of `killer highway’ given the fatalities. National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data reveals that as many as 1009 people have died in 5839 road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir last year.
Let’s talk about few years back, In 2013 the National Crime Records Bureau made some startling revelations in its report ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India’ saying that Jammu and Kashmir had recorded the highest percentage of unnatural deaths occurring due to road accidents that year. The figures quoted by the report suggested that J&K had fared poorly, even worse than Nagaland, in preventing the road accidents. It showed, of the total 1561 unnatural deaths in the UT in 2013, 63.5 per cent or 992 deaths had occurred due to road accidents. The rate of accidental deaths per 1,000 vehicles in J&K was reported 1.1 per cent which was 0.2 per cent higher than All India average. But unfortunately ffom 2013 to 2020 nothing major development of roads happened.
Till the time four laning and the railway line are completed, the government needs to take measures so that highway remains open without hindrance. It’s the good time that government needs to think out of the box. As everyone knows that the accidents in J&K can primarily be attributable to factors like dilapidated and narrow roads. The road agencies endowed with this task need to focus on the ‘locations and times’ that feature frequently in accidents. Similarly, massive education and training programmes for the drivers about safe driving principles need be arranged by the traffic police, sitting in offices wouldn’t work anymore.