Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh

Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh
Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh
Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh
Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh

Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh

Chenab Valley, Not Less Than A Deathtrap In Jammu And Kashmir: Shafqat Shaheen Sheikh

“Thousands of precious lives get lost in road accidents happening every day in Chenab region”

The road accident in Chenab Valley claimed the death of thousands of innocent lives due to rash and negligent driving and plying of ill-fated vehicles over Chenab Valley routes. A few days ago, a horrific and heart-wrenching accident of a passenger vehicle happened over “Batote Kishtwar National Highway 244” near the Trangul Assar area of the Doda district resulting in the death of over four dozen passengers and injuries to two dozen including females, and infant children, and laborers from Chhattisgarh and Bihar. The horrific accident that happened, when the driver lost control of the bus near Assar and rolled down into a deep gorge is one in a series of accidents that have taken place in the Chenab region for decades.

The deficient services have been leading to rash negligent driving and plying of ill-fated vehicles on the road resulting in accidents now and then in Chenab Valley. The passengers traveling in buses and other commuter services have lost their lives for no fault of theirs as they were just commuting on the roads as per their daily requirements. In most cases, accidents have been attributed to overloading, rash driving, use of cell phones, and even the bad condition of the road. The spate of accidents in the recent past was also caused by dilapidated road conditions and some of the roads were not traffic-worthy just like the interdistrict roads of Kishtwar and Doda are glaring examples.

The Government and its agencies wake up to the situation only after some major accident has taken place that depicts just like after the Assar incident. Otherwise, the Government agencies go into deep slumber after announcing half-hearted measures to check the number of accidents and promises to improve the road conditions as well as the commuter services. Everything is forgotten once the anger of the people goes off after a week or months. No Government in the past has bothered to improve the commuter services for the convenience of the people living in far-flung areas when dependable transport operations are missing in the Chenab region.

                      "Interdistrict routes of Chenab Valley have so thirsty of precious lives resulting from the happening of traffic accidents in a daily routine due to the plying of ill-fated vehicles as no precautionary measures have not yet been taken since long results in an increase of traffic accidents day by day due to negligence and untrained drivers. Besides this, the worst condition of all roads in Chenab Valley is one of the main causes of accidents that have untimely killed many precious lives resulting in someone becoming a widow, orphan, and breaking the stick of old parents". 

Opinionated the fact, from the last several years the author came to see that the untimely death of precious lives had broken the ray of hope of his/her old parents and young children. Roads in Chenab Valley seem to have turned into killers and deathtraps with accidents claiming more lives than the violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Every day fatal accidents take place on Jammu Srinagar, Jammu Poonch, Jammu Kishtwar Highways including Chenab Valley, and other periphery roads claiming dozens or more lives. This scene continues to happen on our roads, with authorities seen doing little or nothing to improve the conditions of roads or penalizing drivers for rash and negligent driving and plying of ill-fated vehicles only after happening of such a big tragedy. The figures for road accidents are huge, but ironically the response of the Controlling Agencies in checking the naked Dance of Death on the roads is too little for a few days after the occurrence of such incidents. The political representatives of Chenab Valley are watching the dance of death on these roads as such they have done nothing to frame a comprehensive policy for taking precautionary measures to avoid such tragedies.

A collage of accident visuals, recently took place near Assar area of Jammu Kashmir's Doda

A collage of accident visuals, recently took place near Assar area of Jammu Kashmir’s Doda

                 

The traffic police are also playing a game with precious lives by collecting Hafta on the name of entry for a week or month from transporters and drivers to board passengers as per their wish and will as no one is taking responsibility. Meanwhile, like corruption in the traffic police, condolence messages from Politicians, and representatives in Chenab Valley have become their habit as they are waiting for the accident to show their existence on social media. 

              Unfortunately, a traffic accident that happened in 2019 in Keshwan Kishtwar resulted in the death of more than 30 passengers from a single village and shocked every citizen badly as many precious lives became the prey of these accidents. In one such tragedy that happened a few days ago, scores of passengers were killed as they all were unknown for such causes and were having dreams for themselves.

In the last several years thousands of precious lives have been killed in road accidents due to slide-prone areas, violation of traffic rules, overloading, rash driving, and rug of ill-fated vehicles but unfortunately the government failed to meet the root cause of accidents and take war footed steps to ensure better road connectivity and plying of the modern vehicle in the whole of Chenab valley and the rest of other regions. The entire roads of the twin districts are turning into a death trap. For years, people at the helm of affairs have turned a blind eye to this burning issue and practically did nothing to take action against the negligent elements within the administration nor address the root cause of these tragedies. The highest number of road mishaps takes place in the Chenab Valley region of Jammu, comprising three districts Kishtwar, Doda, and Ramban. “While moving on this highway, commuters remain under a constant threat of shouting stones and a landslide is like a death trap and we often go through it,” The authorities have been seen sitting as mute spectators while several accidents are happening daily.

                Comprising twin districts including Doda, and Kishtwar, all the inter-district routes had become accidental routes as no checkpoint was made to curb overloading, rash driving, use of mobile phones while driving, and others. This valley had lost precious lives in traffic accidents and within a month, every single day became the prey of precious lives in accidents. All representatives of the twin districts stand responsible for such sudden incidents as they had never raised or taken such measures to stop traffic accidents in Chenab Valley.  The need is to gauge Thathri Kilhotran, Thathri Bunjwah, Kishtwar Chatroo, Kishtwar Padder, Doda Bhaderwah, and various other routes of Chenab Valley. The main cause of accidents is overloading and rash driving which needs to be checked at every checkpoint within a radius of 10 km.

The rise in road traffic without a well-suited increase of road network has also been one of the factors responsible for traffic mishaps. Representatives and authorities need to put their heads together to come out with some corrective and collective measures that can result in saving thousands of precious lives lost otherwise in avoidable road accidents as most of the accidents are blamed on overloading, rash and negligent driving.

A renowned Medical Officer, Dr. Daisy Parihar wrote on her social media handle asking “SHOULD CELLPHONES BE BANNED WHILE DRIVING, Just writing Om Shanti and resting in peace won’t solve the problem. It is high time our administrative forces need to take up strong action against carelessness while driving. Accidents are usually caused by negligence while driving. Mobile phones can be a significant factor in accidents due to distracted driving. Engaging with a mobile device while operating a vehicle diverts attention and increases the chance of accidents and at times fatal ones. They are implementing strict rules and taking decisive actions against distracted driving. Hefty fines or license penalties are a crucial step to stop individuals from using mobile phones while driving. Poor road conditions including UNEVEN SURFACES, and LACK OF MAINTENANCE can contribute to accidents. Whose responsibility is it to check up on the infrastructure issues? The tragic effects of accidents on families are profound and far-reaching, the loss of loved ones can lead to emotional and financial challenges. Grieving families often land on a difficult path toward healing and adjusting to life with a void that can never be filled after the loss of their loved ones. Improving safety measures including installing Highway Guardrails is indeed a crucial measure and our Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has also given the direction to install guardrails but the installation of these safety measures is taken for granted.

Let me remind you that a single careless driver causes damage to multiple innocent lives but no doctor in his right senses would want to kill a patient intentionally when a patient dies in a hospital, the doctor treating him/her is disrespected, seen with eyes full of hatred and at times even beaten up. “Now the question is why isn’t this attitude the same towards people who are at fault for taking up crores in the name of highway road construction and maintenance, Where do these eyes full of hatred go while seeing the mountains being continuously excavated surpassing the limits responsible for landslides, Where does the force put into breaking hospital buildings and standing up against practicing of doctors go when you see corrupt builders and contractors not utilizing the funds for construction and betterment of roads?” Lastly, I request every person reading this to raise their voice for the right and also I request the administration to take firm action against the laws that are being violated and punish the culprits.

A renowned Police Officer Bhushan Kumar Gangoo wrote on social media that it is a routine now in Chenab Valley after now and there are tragic accidents in which precious lives are lost and today again 39 people have lost their lives. This is not the last accident, an accident may happen again and there will be a hue and cry all around again. Some would blame Police, Traffic, and some execution agencies but the question is who is responsible for these accidents.

POLICE, TRAFFIC, ROAD CONDITIONS, EXECUTING AGENCIES, ADMINISTRATION

Mr. Gangoo further writes, I am also in the Chenab region at Kishtwar and have noticed many things. None of the above is responsible for these except the people and drivers of these vehicles. The road is good except for some patches which are under construction. There is nothing wrong with the road, however, what I observed are bad drivers and bad vehicles. The drivers are not taking responsibility and are playing with the lives of people as such they don’t have driving sense, or driving manners and never resort to safe driving among which some are not fully trained and driving vehicles without following safe driving norms. The condition of most of the vehicles is not road worthy and is being used without servicing and drivers never use their sense but they are using their strength. Of my people in Chenab Valley they are strong and courageous but they must use their senses with their strength. If people who are so-called drivers and professional drivers do not use their senses and don’t follow safe driving norms such types of accidents may happen in the future also. Suggesting to follow safe driving rules to avoid accidents in which we lose precious lives, “WHENEVER YOU ARE DRIVING YOUR VEHICLE USE YOUR SENSES INSTEAD OF YOUR STRENGTH”

For this government should rise to the occasion, and initiate such measures that can make a difference on the ground so that precious lives can be saved. It is the need of the hour to take war-footed measures to impose a complete ban on ill-fated vehicles, check proper documentation of vehicles, and also take precautionary measures to install heavy barricades and concrete parapets across Chenab Valley so that commuters shall feel safe during their journey.

{The author is a resident of Bunjwah Kishtwar and is a Freelance Writer, Columnist, and can be reached at freelancershafqat@gmail.com, +919419974577}. Email your pitches/Stories via publish@vomnews.in.

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