Self-regulation, compliance with traffic rules must to avoid mishaps: SDG R K Vij

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jan 2019 11:40:23



Though, India is second to China in terms of population, it tops the list when it comes to deaths in road accidents. In Chhattisgarh too, the increasing number of road accidents remains an issue of serious concern for the enforcement agencies. Recently, ten persons died in a road accident that occurred on the national highway in Rajnandgaon district. The jeep was overloaded with fourteen persons against its capacity of just seven, and the driver was half asleep and struggling to keep awake. In another accident that took place in Atal Nagar, Raipur, between a school bus and an over-speeding city bus, three children were thrown out of the open door of the bus and killed on the spot. Though the police have been striving hard to control the road accidents, the situation doesn’t seem to improve.

The Hitavada News Editor Mukesh S Singh spoke to Rajinder Kumar Vij, Special Director General of Police, Planning Provisioning & Finance and Technical Services, who is also in-charge of traffic in Chhattisgarh about the surge in road fatalities across the state.

Q. What is the status of road accidents in Chhattisgarh?

A. The total number of road accidents that took place in Chhattisgarh in the year 2017, were 13,563 and about 4,136 person died in these accident against a total 4,64,910 accidents and 1,47,913 deaths road accidents in India. Thus, the number of accidents and fatality per lakh of population in Chhattisgarh is higher than the national average.

Q. What could be the reasons for these road accidents?
A. There are multiple reasons for these accidents. People still depend upon the police for traffic enforcement. Respect for the traffic rules and self-regulation largely lacks here. Whenever, the police launch any special drive to enforce discipline on roads, like wearing of helmets or seat belts, people, instead of becoming serious about their own safety, try to oppose the police initiatives. It usually becomes a common practice for the public to criticise and allege the police of harassment and indulging in corrupt practices.

Over-speeding, over-loading, listening to music or using mobile phone while driving, violating red-signal etc are common reasons of road accidents. Another reason is the ever growing number of vehicles on roads. In the last three years, though the road length increased only by about 2%, the number of vehicles have increased by more than 20%. Thus, the increase in traffic density over roads could be another factor for the increase in road accidents.

Q. ‘The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety’ has also taken cognizance of the alarming situation of road accidents in the country. How has Chhattisgarh responded to that?

A. The scrutiny by ‘The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety’ is quite comprehensive. Accordingly, the Black Spots i.e., each road sector (of about 500 meter) wherein minimum number of serious road accidents are five or killed persons are ten in the last three years, have been identified, and corrective measures are being taken to remove the causes of such accidents. ‘Road Safety Fund’ has been notified in Chhattisgarh which will help the police department in strengthening its road safety related infrastructure. The state government also sanctioned certain new posts of traffic police in few districts. Chapters on ‘road safety’ are being introduced in school curriculum to increase awareness of the students about road safety. Speed sign boards are being erected on road sides so that drivers become aware about the maximum speed they can drive. Further, a whole time lead agency, comprising of officials from transport, health, public works, education, police etc., has been constituted so that they could continuously monitor the road safety related issues. Thus, Chhattisgarh has taken multiple steps to ameliorate the situation on roads.

Q. What additional steps do you suggest for the control of road accidents?
A. I think, first, the procedure to issue driving licence should be made stringent. The written and practical test should be made tough and the required infrastructure should be created for conducting such tests. Then whosoever violates a certain number of rules, his or her licence should be suspended immediately for a fixed period and a certain training be provided to improve his driving and knowledge of rules. Second, the fitness of all vehicles (transport and personal) should be checked by the government agencies or its authorised agencies for pollution, brake and light. Third, only those should be permitted to buy a vehicle who have sufficient parking place at their premises or has contract with some parking agency. This will not only reduce parking of vehicles on road and street sides in the residential areas but will also reduce instances of vehicle theft.

Q. Do you think the compensation given to the victims of road accidents is sufficient?
A. It is grossly insufficient. Presently, Rs 25,000 is given as compensation to the dependent family in the event of death, and Rs 12,500 to the grievously injured person in road accident. This is paid only in ‘hit and run’ cases (where the vehicle of accident is unknown) under ‘Solatium Fund’ by the ‘The New India Insurance Ltd’ Company in Chhattisgarh under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. The State Government also pays Rs 25,000 and Rs 10,000 as immediate relief to the victim or his/her family. However, the compensation provided under the MV Act is grossly insufficient. The life of a person cannot be considered so cheap in India.

Q. What measures have been taken by the state government to provide immediate relief to the victims of road accidents?
A. Other than sensitising the whole police force in extending best possible help to the victims of road accidents, the State Government has launched two major schemes in Chhattisgarh. ‘Highway Patrol’ was launched on Rajnandgaon-Raipur-Mahasamund national highway wherein one emergency vehicle was earmarked for each sector of about 20 km. Thus, fifteen vehicles, fitted with all necessary equipments, were deployed to check speed of vehicles and provide immediate relief by shifting the injured to the nearest hospital and intimating all concerned. Second, Dial-112 was launched about four months back in 11 major districts to provide emergency services to citizens. Under this scheme, a total 240 four-wheelers and 50 two-wheelers have been deployed in field to reduce the response time. Many lives have been saved, missing persons found, attempted suicide and crimes prevented till now. People are reaching to the police even through social media tools like facebook.