Dear Editor, I would like to invite the attention of all concerned towards the most fatal Kishtwar bus accident which took away thirty five precious lives. This is not the first or the only road accident in our state. In fact, road accidents are very common and most frequent for which the concerned authorities including traffic police, transport department and the department concerned with construction and maintenance of roads. As per my knowledge and experience as and when there is a road accident,all including political leaders, the concerned departmental authorities and media houses become very active and hot in making vocal firing for some days and then all of them turn silent till next accident. In this way, the vicious cycle of accidents goes on killing innocent people. In fact, the first and the most responsible agent for road accidents is Traffic police. It is a well established fact the traffic police allow overloading by taking graft from the bus operators which goes by the very common name “Hafta.” They stop the buses to get their Hafta and allow them to go ahead after wasting time. In the instant case, the bus having a capacity of carrying 25 passengers was carrying 53 passengers Viz double the actual capacity. How can this happen? Why did the concerned traffic police allow overloading by the said bus ? There is a selfspeaking evidence of malfunctioning of traffic police. Secondly, the motor vehicle (transport) department is equally responsible for such road accidents in that the fitness certificates are issued without proper evaluation of fitness of the vehicles. Besides, no action is taken against the erring drivers and licences are issued to the incompetent persons. Thirdly, the departments concerned with the construction and maintenance of roads are equally responsible for such accidents. It is a fact that the bad roads are equally responsible for such accidents and it is also true that the condition of local roads especially being maintained by PWD remains very miserable despite the fact that financial expenditure in the name of repair and maintenance is drawn irrespective of actual work. Consequently, the roads turn unsafe for traffic. Fourthly, the passengers are also responsible for overloading and accidents. Some times, the passengers even don’t hesitate to ride the roofs of the buses despite knowing that sitting on the roof of bus is fatal. Lastly, overloading which is a big factor responsible for accidents and casualties is an offence, but is not taken cognizance of by the concerned authorities. It seems as if it was not offence at all. To overcome this offence, there should be provision of penalty for both the bus operators and the passengers as well. Besides it is also suggested that the passengers without seats should be charged half of the bus fare which will discourage the bus operators to overload the bus. The concerned traffic police men on duty should be held responsible for such accidents in their respective areas. O P Sharma AMO Retd, Bagnoti Nowshera.
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