Sujeet Singh, a JCB machine operator, died in an incident of landslide at Seri near Ramban on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Six persons traveling in a car were also injured.
The mishap has again brought focus on the very difficult and risky working conditions for the workers during road clearance and restoration of vehicular traffic movement on the highway.
These unsung heroes keep on losing their lives during their work. The Srinagar-Jammu highway is not new to landslides and shooting stones. A number of people including the workers on the road, passengers and drivers have lost their lives after being hit by shooting stones, or caught in a landslide, since past.
Such accidents not only occur in winter but in other seasons of the year also. Once the highway gets blocked, the first priority is the restoration of the traffic after road clearance. Men and machinery is pressed into service for this purpose.
They work in very difficult and risky circumstances. The things get worse amid dim light, and shooting stones on critical spots. Risking their lives, the workers go ahead with their work. However, efforts should be made to avert deaths in such incidents.
The safety of the workers as also the passengers and drivers should be a priority. Work has to be done cautiously particularly during instances of shooting stone so that the lives are protected. All measures have to be taken so that the lives are not endangered.
There should be proper coordination between the working men on the ground and those at the top, supervising the road clearance operations. While some major and significant steps are being taken to shorten the travel time on the highway, and also make the journey smooth, all other required measures should be in place for the safety of all those working for the road clearance.
If they are given a safe working environment to operate, such mishaps would not occur and workers would be saved from losing their lives. Srinagar-Jammu highway is vulnerable to landslides and shooting stones at various stretches.
The landslides and shooting stones would continue to hit the road. But efforts must be there so that neither the workers nor those travelling on the road become victims in such mishaps. All necessary preventive measures are needed.
Traffic movement can be suspended for sometime if there is a threat of a landslide or shooting stone any time. Such decisions can be taken in consultation with those working on the road after assessing the road condition at that time.
Any kind of adventurism in unfavourable road conditions can prove fatal. So right decisions need to follow after right assessment of the road condition.