Thirty eight people dead, more than a dozen injured. The news shocked us all. What follows is an age old drill; statements fly from all direction. Then we have some government intervention by way of bringing some relief to the affected families. With this the story comes to an end. Dust mixes with dust, and the tragedy is buried into oblivion.
The affected families shoulder the burden of tragedy all by themselves. Nothing moves in the aftermath of the accidents, of even this magnitude, till another tragedy strikes. No probe is conducted, and no steps are taken to avoid such an accident in future. What caused an accident, is a matter of technical detail. In this case, early reports suggest that it was the result of over-speeding. But it hides the real question. And that pertains to responsibility. In any conscious society, and a responsible governance, a tragedy of this magnitude would shake things from depths. But here no tremors are felt. Here is the question.
Who takes the responsibility of such a tragedy? Pir Panchal and Chenab valley are often in news for such accidents. Talk to anyone there and they tell us that almost every household in the region has a story of death or injury to narrate because of a road accident. Why no study has been conducted into understanding what causes such accidents, and how these can be eliminated one by one. If this is a difficult terrain, and drivers resort to over-speeding, there should have been an enhanced vigil on these road.
If overcrowding is a reason, extra number of buses should have been pressed into service. If there is a will, there is a way. But if we don’t find a way out, and such accidents keep on happening, it points towards the absence of will. And that is where the question of culpability arises. It is time that the government takes a long term view and undertakes a serious study on how such accidents can be stopped from happening. First things first, enhance the number of traffic police personnel, and use CCTV cameras to ensure strict vigil over the entire road length.