To Curb High Road Accident Casualties In Jammu And Kashmir, Road Safety Council Bill Introduced
- Jammu and Kashmir records over 1,200 deaths annually due to road accidents
- The proposed Road Safety Council will monitor all aspects of road safety
- The Bill is expected to be passed in the state legislative assembly this se
New Delhi: India’s roads have earned a bad reputation of being one the most dangerous in the world given the number of accidents and casualties. Among the states, Jammu and Kashmir seems to have worrying record when it comes road accidents, with more lives being lost due to road accidents, than in armed conflict. A 2017 report by the Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police shows that between 2004 and 2016, an average of 1,200 people died in road accidents in the state annually, compared to an average of 200 people who died due to the conflict in the state. An accident in the state had 64 per cent chances of causing a death, compared to the national average of 36.4 per cent, said the same report. Now the state has decided to act to prevent such deaths. A bill has been introduced by the Jammu and Kashmir government on February 9 for the formation of a State Road Safety Council.
The Bill lays down provisions for the formation of a council, which will be in charge of ensuring road safety across the state. Named as the Jammu and Kashmir Road Safety Council Act, 2018, the Bill proposes the formation of a State Road Safety Council which will advise the state government on road safety measures. As per the proposed Bill, the Council will be headed by the Minister of Transport and will work on drawing up road safety policies, enforcement of road safety standards and conduct awareness programmes on road safety to make citizens aware of dangers of road accidents. The Bill also proposes formation of district level committees which will monitor road conditions and work with traffic department to conduct awareness programmes on road safety.
The introduction of the Bill is a landmark moment for the state as road accident casualties are high in Jammu and Kashmir. The topography of the state, along with congestion in some important roads has made road accidents a regularity in Jammu and Kashmir. Lack of timely arrival of emergency services often results in death of accident victims. We are hopeful that a Council will form effective policies to curb road accidents, said Dr Khalid H Malik, General Manager, Administration, Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation.
Two major components of the Bill are making the Council as the chief coordinator for all government departments and agencies discharging duties related to road safety, and the setting up of a Road Safety Fund. All government departments in charge of making the state’s roads safer, such as the department of traffic and Public Works Department will be supervised by the council and their works monitored to ensure that roads across the state are safer. The Road Safety fund will take care of expenditure related to implementation of road safety schemes, research projects on road safety and trauma care programmes for road accident survivors.
The Council will act as the one-stop point for all road safety related measures. Given the high number of traffic casualties we see every year, a body monitoring all aspects of road safety across the state is much needed. The Council will also have the authority to remove illegal constructions in roads to curb road accidents, said Dr Malik.
The Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation is hoping for the Bill to be passed in the ongoing Assembly session.