Berhampur: Despite repeated awareness campaigns on road safety and traffic rules, deaths caused by road accidents increased in Ganjam district last year compared to the year ago period, statistics said.
Statistics accessed by the transport department revealed that road fatalities registered an 8.76 percent growth in 2019 compared to 2018. While 46 accidents caused 105 deaths in 2019, the casualty figure was 101 in 2018.
The Supreme Court committee on road safety, which monitors implementation of road safety rules in the country, has expressed concern over the alarming rate of fatality due to road mishaps in Ganjam compared to other districts.
NH-16 passing by through the district has turned into a death trap for commuters. The district is now observing its National Road Safety Week.
One woman and two youths died at Haldiapadar-Khajuria bypass due to a collision between trucks and bikes December 2019. In this incident, three people were critically injured. Two of them were paralyzed and in ICU now.
In January 3 and 9 of 2020, most fatal accidents were reported at Haladiapadar bypass. While a truck coming from Golanthar rammed a bike causing death of Rita Kumalri Hota,. The bike rider who was critically injured are being treated in a hospital.
Papun Kumar Padhi, 21, died in a road mishap January 9 while his friend Prasanta Sahoo is being treated in the hospital. Siv Sankar Sahoo, 25, of Sukunda village died in January 15 as a truck hit his bike from rear at Khajuria bypass.
Transport officials attributed the spurt in casualties to poor compliance of road safety norms by motorists, faulty road designs and bad roads at many places and lack of enforcement activities against violators.
There is one interceptor on the NH to crack down on drunken driving. A study showed that the interceptor on the NH has failed rein in drunken drivers.
It was observed that even though traffic police, police, transport department and administration have been trying to stop road accidents by conducting massive road safety campaigns, officials have failed to control rash driving on the roads.
There are fewer staff to crack the whip against drunken driving, overloading and over-speeding on lonely stretches of the highway and inside cities,” a transport officer said.
Traffic DSP Sarthak Rai said steps are being taken to curb road rage. “Awareness of road safety rules holds the key to check accidents. We have been appealing to people to drive safe and obey safety rules by giving them flowers. People are aware of the importance of helmets. Transport officers have been asked to intensify awareness campaigns in districts during the national road safety week from January 11 to January 17,” Rai added.
From March, the new MV Act will be implemented across the state with all its rules and regulations.
Various quarters are now keeping a close watch on how things will turn out after the amended MV Act is enforced in the state.
Sarthak Rai stated that the department was trying to make people aware of road safety. The department has also decided to open sensitisation centres across the district to spread awareness among people on road safety rules.
Mobile vans equipped with video walls will move within the district to educate commuters about penal provisions in the amended MV Act, Rai added.