Jose K Joseph
Post News Network
Bhubaneswar: Narrow roads, encroachments, lack of waiting sheds, stray cattle and inadequate signal posts are among major road safety issues that did not receive much attention in the 27th National Road Safety Week.
Around 9 lakh vehicles use road space daily and 50,000 vehicles join the city’s road space annually. Capital roads need significant infrastructural improvement to ensure road safety norms.
Unfortunately, the enforcement team of Regional Transport Office can handle 10,000 vehicles. Orissa Post has reported the problem in its October 7 edition headlined ‘16 officials handle 9L vehicles’.
Although Motor Vehicle Act 1988 states pedestrians must be accorded priority as the city lacks pedestrian tracks at places. Around 165 buses ply through the city which lacks waiting sheds at many locations which force passengers to stand along roads creating traffic snarls and road safety issues.
“In fact, the city needs more bus bays and waiting sheds. Now, buses park on roadside creating traffic blocks. So the city planners should understand the seriousness of the issue, said Prakash Mishra, president, Orissa State Private Bus Owners Association.
Travelling in the city requires the mercy of stray animals. But, there is the possibility that the situation will improve after smart city project is taken up. Blissfully, the planners had forgotten the safety improvement issues. Nearly 500 trucks daily enter the city which does not have sparking hub for them.
“Parking hub for trucks is a long pending demand of our association. When big trucks park along road they create traffic jams. The association will go for a strike if the demand is not fulfilled,’’ said Niranjan Praharaj, president, Bhubaneswar Goods and Transport Association.
After buses, auto-rickshaws are major modes of transport in the city. Many auto-rickshaw drivers carry seven to eight passengers and are focused on picking clients from left side of the road. Moreover, a majority of the auto drivers do not have valid transport licence. Orissa POST has reported this issue in October 1 edition headlined ‘‘19,000 autos in capital plying sans valid papers’.
Worse still, the city has 18 functional signal posts and needs 60 for better traffic management and safety.
“However, through awareness and technology the situation can improve in future,” said Rajendra Prasad Sharma, city police commissioner.