Muktsar has 'least number of fatal road mishaps'
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 16
In the year gone by, Ludhiana topped the list of districts for the highest number of fatal road accidents followed by Patiala. On the other hand, Muktsar recorded the least number of road accidents in 2009 followed by Faridkot.
Contrary to popular belief that almost every district in Punjab was equally unsafe, the latest report of the Punjab Governance Reform Commission (PGRC) has suggested a huge variation in road traffic across the state with districts like Ludhiana recording almost seven times more fatal accidents as compared to Muktsar.
According to the report, five districts of Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Patiala and Barnala were highly prone to fatal accidents.
Incidentally, Kapurthala topped the "road accident per one lakh population", only to be followed by Mohali and Fatehgarh Sahib - otherwise known to be small and peaceful districts. Traffic management has been put as one of the major challenges before the government as the "existing infrastructure has become dysfunctional leading to the widespread violation of traffic rules".
According to the data provided by the PGRC of the first three quarters (from January 1, 2009, to September 30, 2009), Ludhiana recorded 604 fatal accidents in 2009, followed by Patiala that had 500, Kapurthala and Gurdaspur reported 347 and 304 accidents. In all, the state had 4,652 cases of fatal accidents till the end of September, which would had further gone up by another 25 per cent by the end of the fourth quarter i.e. December 31.
The PGRC Chairman, Dr Parmod Kumar, said the main reason for the high rate of accidents was due to "increased reliance of the people on personalised transport modes such as cars, two-wheelers and non-motorised transport modes such as bicycles. Along with this, there has been a preponderance of the private transport modes such as tricycles, auto-rickshaws, tempos, and negligible presence of public transport within the cities".
A large number of drivers of motorised vehicles are untrained. This gets compounded by the large number of illiterate drivers.
All this produces anarchy on the roads, the report reads.
Further, the high accidental casualties have been attributed to driving vehicles under the influence of alcohol and drugs, rash driving and the lack of medical facilities along the highways.
The report mentions that enforcement of traffic rules and road-safety norms were compromised. These include not wearing seat belts, violation of traffic signals etc.
With increased mobility, road users like cyclists, motorcyclists were compromised. Also, pedestrians proved to be more prone to injuries as compared to four-wheeler owners.