PALAMPUR: The sudden increase in the motor accidents in Himachal Pradesh in past few days has caused serious concern among the common passenger. It has once again put question mark on the passenger safety and functioning of state transport department .
Every third day a motor mishap is reported from the state. According to official figures over 140 innocent persons have lost their lives in different road mishaps in the state in past nine months. In past three days fifteen persons had lost their lives in two bus mishaps. The situation is quite alarming.
Tall claims made by the Himachal Pradesh government to check the motor accidents in the state are only confined to files and nothing worthwhile has been done to ensure the passenger safety in the state. Though the state government is well conversant with the situation that 95 percent of the total population of the state are dependent on the road transport but the passenger safety has completely been neglected.
In most of the mishaps the private buses and maxi cabs were involved, it seems that state government did not learn any lesson and it has still had granted permits to private transporters on whole sale merely on political considerations, without looking into the conditions of those roads where the vehicles are to be plied. No one in the government is bothered to verify whether the roads for which permits were being issued are traffic worthy or not.
Though there has been manifold increase in the light and heavy vehicles in the state in past five years, state and interstate traffic has also gone up but the width of most of the roads are the same as it was 30 years ago. The state government has taken various steps for the widening of roads but very little improvement has been done in this field so far. Most of such projects have been hanging fire because official bottlenecks. The conditions of internal roads in the state are worst where frequent bus accidents are taking place. Besides, inferior quality of materials are used for the construction of road side retaining walls , which have been collapsing daily resulting in fatal accidents. The recent bus accident near Baroh in Kangra district was also because of poor condition of road.
According to official figures in past ten years, over 5705 persons in the state have lost their lives in different road accidents while over 33227 were injured. The state has a high rate of accident because of its difficult topography and narrow roads.
The another factor responsible for sharp increase of bus accident in the state is attributed to rampant corruption prevailing in the licensing wing of the transport department. No proper rules and regulations are followed while issuing the driving licenses.
In Himachal Pradesh â€œa accident free dayâ€ is a news while the heavy casualties have become a matter of routine.
Almost after every accident the state government orders probe into cause of accident, but no follow up action is taken on such reports. Sometimes vital issues are pointed out in such reports by the inquiry officer, such as improvement of particular portion of road where the accident was taken place but such reports remain confined to files and ultimately thrown to dust bin.