Bhubaneswar, Jan. 10: A weeklong awareness campaign on the dos and don’ts of road safety that concluded on Monday was observed with great fanfare. But despite the intense campaign, certain grey areas remain.
Here’s a quick look at some of the hurdles that made the road safety week a flop show.
Crossing the line
There seems to be little regard for the maintenance of zebra crossings at various traffic intersections. The stripes on most roads are either absent or dimly visible on most roads. On the other hand, motorists barely seem to follow the rules of zebra crossings with most of them overstepping the line. Despite frequent awareness drives, people continued to ignore the stop signal, said assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Binod Das. “We will need to deal with such violations more stringently,” he said.
The city lacks adequate parking lots, forcing residents to park their vehicles on the roadside, which constricts smooth flow of traffic. Wide stretches such as Vani Vihar Square to Master Canteen Square and Rajmahal Square to AG Square are the best examples. Though the police have been imposing fines against the illegally parked vehicles, the frequency of such checks is low. Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) would “soon” facilitate parking by providing adequate parking lots.
Bhubaneswar roads seem to have a dubious reputation of being a nightmare for pedestrians. Lack of maintenance of footpaths and illegal encroachment or dumping of construction material, indiscriminate parking and an unprecedented rise in the number of vehicles are enough reasons for walkers to get panicky. At many places, footpaths have not been covered with concrete slabs. “The BMC should evict encroachers from footpaths and the cops must impose fines on people driving on them,” said a senior official of roads and buildings.
Men at work
Ongoing constructions on city roads are creating difficulties for commuters. Be it the expansion work on the National Highway No. 5 or the integrated sewerage management system, roads have become potential threats for commuters. The construction points lead to traffic chaos because of various diversions and blockades. Further, the dust particles at these sites along with the fog make it difficult to drive through.
Lives at stake
Rising accidents in the city have been a challenge to the goals of road safety week. Statistics available with the State Transport Authority revealed that during 2011, as many as 599 accidents took place in which 189 people were killed and 564 sustained injuries. In 2012, the state capital witnessed as many as 625 accidents, resulting in the death of 184 persons.