Road accident deaths in J&K outdo militant killings

Despite tall claims, government has failed to provide better roads

Road accident deaths in J&K outdo militant killings

With traffic accidents claiming 700 lives in the last two years in Jammu & Kashmir, it has eclipsed militancy as the major reason for large number of deaths in the state. 

Traffic department data in the state suggests 1905 road accidents have occured in 2013, in which more than 300 people died in those accidents and 2,600 injured. 

By contrast, the number of deaths in Kashmir due to militancy is much less in the last two years. 

According to unofficial data, in 2012, 84 militants and 15 security force personnel were killed. In 2011, the death toll was 119 militants and 30 security force personnel. The number of civilian deaths in the militancy related incident has also come down drastically in the last two years.

Superintendent Police (Traffic) Srinagar, Haseeb-ur-Rehman, blamed reckless driving as the main reason for the rising accidents. “Ninetyfive per cent accidents occur due to careless driving. Violating the traffic norms and not adhering to the rules and safety measures are main reasons for the majority of accidents,” he told Deccan Herald.

“Over-speeding is the main cause of traffic accidents in the valley. Most of the drivers don’t care about the rules,” he added.

The SP Traffic urged parents to guide their children about safety driving measures. “We will conduct programs in the city regarding road safety measures in coming days,” he said. 

Even hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani had last year expressed concerns over rising deaths in traffic accidents. He had accused the state government of failing to provide better roads. 

“Despite tall claims, the government has failed to provide better roads.  Major chunk of the state budget goes waste on undue expenses of ministers and legislators and a less amount from the budget is being allotted for development,” he had said. 

However, state’s Minister for Rural Development Ali Mohammad Sagar stressed the need to involve schools, colleges, NGOs and the civil society to spread awareness about traffic rules to control the accidents.

Kashmir had 3,47,393 vehicles registered as on March 2012. Jammu and Kashmir ranks 13th in the list of Indian states with high accident rates with 48.20 accidents per one hundred thousand people.

But the government is yet to embark upon the multi-crore project for introducing Traffic Interceptor Vans (TIVs) to regulate traffic in the state.

These TIVs, equipped with various modern facilities like cameras, interceptors, and speed radars, were meant to check over-speeding.

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