'Sub-standard roads' behind rising accidents in far-west
June 20, 2019 02:30 AM NPT
People gather at an accident site in Bajhang district on Monday. Photo: Republica
As per the locals, alcohol consumption while driving and lack of monitoring are the other factors that have contributed to the increase in road accidents.
KATHMANDU, June 20: Sudur Paschim Province is seeing a surge in the number of accidents of late.
Altogether 212 individuals lost their lives in the current fiscal year while 435 were severely injured. A total of 216 accidents were reported in the region this year.
According to Superintendent of Police (SP) Kedar Rajaure at the Regional Traffic Police Office, the statistics show a surge in the number of accidents as compared to the previous years.
In the last fiscal year (2017/18), the number of deaths due to accident was 166 while it was 132 the previous year (2016/17). In FY 2015/16, the number of deaths due to accident was 121 in the province.
“Accidents are increasing because of sub-standard roads and negligence in ensuring proper road safety measures,” said SP Rajaure. He said that the traffic police are facing hard time managing traffic due to acute shortage of manpower.
SP Rajaure pointed out to over-speeding and carrying passengers more than the capacity of the vehicles as the prime reasons behind accidents. As per the locals, alcohol consumption while driving and lack of monitoring are the other factors that have contributed to the increase in road accidents.
Excavators are used to open road tracks haphazardly. The locals lament that the roads are made without following proper standard while transportation entrepreneurs are operating vehicles without taking route permit from the concerned government body.
Regional coordinator of Insec, Khadak Joshi, says that traffic police conduct checking at some fixed locations only with the sole intention of charging fines from violators.
According to Joshi, passenger vehicles make the commuters walk at security check posts and then carry them above the capacity of the vehicles once the checking is over.
Additionally, vehicles are also not in proper condition. The general public is also not aware of traffic rules and safety requirements, which have led to an increase in the number of accidents.
Joshi added that the corrupt authorities grant driving licenses even to the drivers who fail their test in return for kickbacks. This is also a reason for the increase in accidents.
Roads are being constructed haphazardly in all seven hill districts of the province without conducting any survey, which is a pre-requisite for a standard road. Such roads which have been built without meeting the required criteria have become death traps for the commuters.
“Construction of roads in Bajhang take place without meeting the required standards due to political intervention. Such sub-standard roads are causing many deaths,” said Deepak Bhandari, one of the youth leaders of the district.
(Our correspondents Dil Bahadur Chatyal from Dhangadhi, Jagat Khadka from Bajhang and Pushkar Bhandari from Dadeldhura contributed to this report)