BHADARWAH: The mountainous Doda and Kishtwar districts of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 365 road accidents this year that left 76 persons dead and 472 others injured, officials said Sunday.
While 24 persons were killed and 287 injured in 158 road accidents in Doda, 52 persons lost their lives and 185 injured in 207 accidents in Kishtwar since January this year, the official said.
According to the GoI Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Jammu and Kashmir ranks second across India in the number of road accidents per 10,000 vehicles with an average of over 900 deaths every year in the last five years. The average number of deaths per year in the state has been over 900 over the last five years.
In 2017, as many as 926 persons died in over 5,000 road accidents across the state. In 2016, the state witnessed 958 deaths in road accidents, while 917 people died in 2015 and 992 died in 2014 and 990 in 2013.
In the backdrop of increasing road accidents in Chenab Valley resulting in public outcry, traffic police has tightened the noose against traffic violators over the past one month.
“We are trying our best to manage the traffic in a better way and to implement traffic rules for the safety of passengers. We have fined 1,738 vehicles in the month of September and collected a fine of Rs 6,75,000, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Doda-Kishtwar, Zohaib Hussain told PTI.
He said the department was facing staff crunch and is not in a position to deploy traffic personnel on every route but still police is focusing on link roads of the twin districts where most of the accidents have taken place.
He said police is also focusing on bikers performing stunts on main roads, not only risking their lives but also lives of commuters.
We are trying to motivate youth by organising awareness lectures and workshops in schools and have also involved their parents. I hope they will fall in line and will not push us to go harsh on them,” the officer said.
Local residents have demanded stern action against traffic violators for fiddling with safety of passengers.
“Our link roads have become death traps as neither civil administration nor traffic police is there to restrain unruly drivers, who indulge in overloading, rash driving and overcharging,” Irshad Lawai, a resident of Sartingal village of Bhadarwah, said.
Locals alleged that bad roads coupled with little or no presence of traffic cops especially on link roads was the main cause for rising road accidents in the hilly districts.
“Transporters and drivers are ready to pay the occasional fine imposed by traffic authorities as they earn thousands by overloading on daily basis,” another resident Mohammad Iqbal said.