Expressing concern over increase in road accidents, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan on Sunday said "less awareness regarding traffic rules along with infrastructure deficiencies is leading to more accidents."
Addressing a gathering at the valedictory function of the 28th Road Safety Week observed by Regional Transport Office between January 9-15, the Divisional Commissioner said steps such as improving blind curves, installing speed guns and adhering to the ban of liquor sale on highways can help to keep a check on accidents.
"Most of the accidents are taking place on highways due to negligence of people behind the wheel. They are usually unaware about road signs and safety rules. Now-a-days everyone aspires to have a vehicle but discipline in driving and parking is missing. Wrongly parked vehicles chock roads leading to accidents," Khan said.
Highlighting the need for more awareness, especially among youth and transporters, Khan said NGOs and traffic department have an important role to play for disseminating information on road safety.
"I am shocked to know that almost 900 people died in more than 5000 road accidents across Kashmir in 2015. NGOs have a role to play to ensure that no one drives under the influence of intoxicants or alcohol," Khan said. Drawing parallels between the procedure for issuance of driving licenses in western countries and India, Khan said 'license here is issued to even half-trained drivers".
"There was a time when people irrespective of knowing how to drive would get their license at home. Issuance of driving license is much lenient here compared to the west. We need a better infrastructure for issuing licenses," Khan said.
Commenting on the proposed government driving institute, Khan said the project did not proceed further even after land was identified for this institute.
"This driving institute was supposed to be set-up by government and it was planned to outsource it," he said. Khan said every state including J&K should follow Supreme Court interventions made for bringing down road accidents.
Earlier speaking at the event, DC Srinagar, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone said awareness on road safety should be conducted even during summer months in schools and colleges.
"Awareness campaigns must be intensified round the year. I am glad that media and NGOs extended complete support for the road safety week," Lone said.
RTO Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad Rather said events such as awareness camps at PHE department and Batamaloo General Bus Stand were conducted by the RTO during the Road Safety Week.
"Helmet awareness campaign with help of two-wheeler companies and our blood donation camp received a huge response. We hope to conduct such events in future as well," Rather said.
Meanwhile, Traffic Police department concluded its events and awareness campaigns regarding the road safety week which had kick-started on January 9. SSP Traffic thanked participants including NGO's who participated in the week long programme.