Jammu and Kashmir Roads’ Fatal Rendezvous with Death Must End!

Mir Iqbal

Roads of and in the Kashmir region, especially in mountainous and hilly parts seem to be haunted and stalked by death. While the region is no stranger to death, but road deaths are an unwelcome addition. This is both alarming and bad because lives are and continue to be lost in what was once called “paradise on earth”.
How poignant this has become here was reminded by yet another accident which happened in Kishtwar on July 1st. The death toll has jumped to 35 while several others are said to be injured after a passenger vehicle they were traveling in fell into a deep gorge near Srigwari at Keshwan area of Kishtwar. The accident isn’t the only one to have happened in Kashmir this years or so. Since the past few years, similar kinds of accident occurred across this Himalayan region. It has become a routine where people die in accidents.
Only last week, in a tragic bus accident, t at least 11 students were consumed when a vehicle carrying the students of a private computer institute, on excursion met with a terrible accident at Pir Ki Gali on the historic Mughal road..
One wonders over the reasons that contribute to ever growing accidents in Jammu and Kashmir. While some attribute these to the rash driving, some put it to sloppy and mountainous roads, and others blame choked and dilapidated roads for the mess. And, there are some who say using mobile phones during driving lead to the accidents. The other reasons can be the carelessness during driving and use of condemned buses besides many more.
A study has found that Jammu and Kashmir tops the list in terms of possibilities of a road accident becoming fatal. NCRB has classified the deaths due to accidents into two broad groups : accidental deaths due to causes attributable to nature and accidental deaths due to causes not attributable to nature. Causes attributable to nature include avalanches, cold and exposure, tornadoes, earthquake, epidemics, floods, heat strokes, landslides, lightning, torrential rains and other natural causes. Causes not attributable to nature include air crashes, collapse of structures, drowning, explosions, falls, fire, sudden deaths, poisoning, traffic accidents and so on.
While the administration condoles the death every time and even offers cash relief to the kin victims but fails to find a long solution to this life and death issue. The question is: how long will it hide its weaknesses by offering cash relief to victims instead of finding a permanent solution?
If the condemned buses and bad roads have been met on time, similar accidents would have not been witnessed again and again. The spate of fatal accidents that consumed the lives of many must concentrate minds to devise a long lasting, sustainable solution to this nagging issue that has life and death consequences.

—The author is a Kashmir based journalist who specializes in developmental reporting. He can be contacted at miriqbalkmr@gmail.com”