Chhatrapur: Deaths due to road accident are on the rise in Ganjam as construction of flyovers and underpasses on the highways passing through the district are stuck in red-tapism.
Frequent accidents are occurring as there are not enough flyovers and underpasses on the highways passing through the district. Moreover, rash and speed driving are also contributing to the accidents.
Accidents are also occurring on the state highways but the national highways have become all the more unsafe and susceptible to road accidents.
A report from the state transport department says that as many as 355 persons lost their lives in 617 major road accidents that occurred in 2020. In 2021, the district witnessed 377 deaths and 731 accidents. Such deaths in 2021 saw a 6.20 per cent rise than the previous year 2020.
The rising fatalities are in sharp contrast to a Supreme Court order which had directed to reduce deaths due to road accidents by 50 per cent by 2020. The state transport department had formed district road safety committee to implement the Supreme Court order.
The committee analyses the reasons behind the increasing road accident deaths in its meeting. The committee chairperson also directs the district Collector to take necessary steps to reduce road accidents.
However, these orders are hardly implemented. The district administration with the help of Ganjam and Berhampur police has identified black spots, the places of frequent road accidents from Girishola to Puintala on the national highway.
The district administration after identifying the black spots proposed for construction of flyovers and underpasses in some places of the highway to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The proposals were prepared after a joint survey was undertaken by the rural development department and public works department. However, the NHAI authorities are yet to take steps on these proposals.
The proposals include construction of a flyover from DRDA Square to College Square in Chhatrapur, an underpass at Jayshree Square and a service road at Bank Colony.
Bishnupada Sethi, the principal secretary, commerce and transport has also written a letter to the Collector directing him to file a report within a fortnight as to why deaths due to road accidents are not declining.
The regional transport officers have also been directed to file a report every week on the number of road accidents taking place in their areas and action taken against traffic norm violators.
The RTOs have been asked for strict enforcement of road safety rules by conducting meetings of the district road safety committee in regular intervals.
The state transport department had directed the police and transport departments to reduce road accidents by identifying traffic rule violators through special enforcement drive.
However, the principal secretary, transport department has admitted that the special enforcement drive was not properly held for panchayat and subsequent urban local body polls. Now, the drive has again started in April after the completion of both the polls.
Moreover, the meetings of the district road safety committee also could not be held regularly due to the polls. Meanwhile, a training programme for the transport and police has started to check reoccurrence of road accidents.