KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Road accidents in the Kathmandu Valley have claimed 132 lives in the first six months of the current fiscal year, indicating a sharp rise in the number of road fatalities.
According to the data maintained by police, the number of fatal road accidents has surged by 36 percent this year as compared to the average semi-annual data on road accidents of the last fiscal year.
According to the Metropolitan Police Traffic Office (MTPO), Baggikhana, the number of people who died in road accidents in the Valley in the first half of the current Fiscal Year 2018/19 is just one short of 133 deaths caused by road accidents in the Valley in the Fiscal Year 2014/15.
Meanwhile, police informed Republica that 194 people had lost their lives in road accidents in Fiscal Year 2017/18.
The total number of accidents in the Valley has seen a sharp surge too. A total of 4,081 accidents took place in the Valley in the six months; an increase of about 28 percent during the review period. The Valley had witnessed an average of 3190 accidents in fiscal year 2017/18.
If the road accidents are to increase in the current pace, this fiscal year will see the highest number of road accidents as well as deaths in the Valley. Expressing their concerns about the increasing road accidents, officials from the MTPO claimed that the sharp increase in road accidents, as well as the death toll, is the result of the newly constructed roads in an unscientific manner.
Chief of MTPO Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Basanta Kumar Panta informed Republica that the newly widened Koteshwar-Kalanki road section, a part of the ring road, has seen a massive number of road accidents taking place since it was opened.
“Road accidents have increased in the past six months due to the unscientific and unsafe nature of the newly constructed roads,” he said, “In this regard, the newly widened Koteshwar-Kalanki road section is a dangerous road.”
The construction works for the expansion of the 9.5-kilometer stretch of road was started from May 2016 with Chinese funds.
According to SSP Panta, a majority of accidents take place in the road section due to over speeding.
“The road signals on the section are very difficult to understand in addition to the unchecked over speeding that takes place on the road section,” he told Republica.
The number of accidents caused due to over speeding has increased by 642 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year as compared to the semi-annual average of the previous fiscal year. A total of 71 road accidents took place due to over speeding in 2017/18 which increased to 276 in the first half of the current fiscal year.
SSP Panta added that the road accidents have increased also due to the lack of awareness among the drivers. “We have upgraded our roads, but we have not been able to increase the level of awareness among the drivers,” he said.
He claimed that the MTPO is currently working on bringing out a new program in order to control road accidents.