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Focus on mishaps in safety week

- 291 road deaths in 2012

Agartala, Jan.1:An alarming rise in the number of road accidents has emerged as a source of concern for the state government, even as the transport department has announced this week as the “road safety week”.

Any political party which forms the government after the Assembly elections, reining in rash driving on roads and curbing the spiralling deaths will form one of the major priorities.

“As part of the road safety week, we will organise road shows on the safe movement of vehicles, besides holding seminars and discussions on the subject,” transport commissioner Kishore Ambuly said.

However, he admitted that lack of police action and proper management of traffic, worsened by spurt in the number of vehicles, were responsible for the increasing deaths in road accidents.

According to the statistical data provided by the transport department, the number of small and big vehicles plying on the road stood at 2.6 lakh on December 30, though the figure was only 58,581 vehicles in December 2001, 11 years ago.

The spurt in the number of vehicles has not corresponded to the increase in road length and widening of roads, and this worsened by traffic mismanagement, has resulted in a sharp rise in the number of road mishaps and deaths.

Kaushik Rudrapaul, assistant transport officer, said in the year 2010, altogether 225 people had died and 1,269 were injured in 901 road accidents across the state. In 2011, the number of road accidents was comparatively less at 757, but 231 people had died and 963 had sustained injuries, according to the transport department records.

However, the situation worsened in 2012, as altogether 291 people died and 1,382 had sustained injuries in 1,015 road accidents.

“After a major road accident because of the irresponsible driving in November 2010, in which 11 people had died in Bishalgarh subdivision, the state government had initiated action by installing speedometers and other deterrent measures. However, within a few months everything collapsed because the leaders of the ruling party felt that by taking drastic action they would alienate their powerful transport workers’ union affiliated with Citu,” a source in the transport department said. He said whichever party comes to power, it must muster the courage and political will to initiate drastic action against “rash and irresponsible” transport workers, including drivers, to curb the number of increasing road accidents in the state.