Vijay K. Saluja*
Some time back, TheTimes of India , printed on its first page, the photograph of a bashed blue-line bus driver, whose bus was involved in a fatal accident, near Moolchand underpass.
On its third page, was another picture of the grieving wife of the killed young man & his hapless & crying parents! The news report about this accident described another grim part of the sad story. The father of the bereaved wife, had also been involved in the tragic road accident many years back, when this unfortunate wife, was a young girl of seven. In that accident, her father had died & her own leg, had to be amputated!
Can there be more tragic incident than this? Let us ask ourselves. This accident & the following events, tell another grim tale. Again involvement of a blue-line-Here, I am not commenting anything about, whose fault it could be. But the fact remains, that a tragic accident on Delhi road, involving blue-line has again occured, a young life has been snuffed out, a bread winner, the only son, the father of two young daughters, have gone, leaving the awesome burden & the burden of sorrowing old parents, on the shoulders of a traumatized, already handicapped [brave] & sorrowing wife.
The incident also brought out the growing anger of the public & onlookers, who decided to deal with the driver themselves & perhaps battered him black & blue & therefore the picture showed gory face of the driver. A very very sad case of poor governance, right on the road, in almost the heart of the capital of India. I don`t think, policemen, could be far away, from the spot of the accident? What sort of professional satisfaction, persons in the government, who are given the authority to govern, get out of these incidents/accidents?!
Don`t they feel bad, guilty, sad, powerless. If not, then perhaps their conscience is also dead. If it is so, how have, they been given the charge of sensitive govt jobs? Why the Government is helpless to effectively deal, as per the law of the land/conduct rules, with them?!
I saw another gruesome accident, a few days back, involving a scooterist & a not so , speeding car. It was the fault of none of them. But accident occurred due to embedded manhole, as the said road had been given a fresh overlay, embedding all the manholes. The scooterist skidded on the same , lost balance, was on the ground & hit by the car which was coming ,behind him. Presence of mind of the car driver, made the impact, very little, but the hapless scooterist, had suffered bruises all over, had a fracture & a broken scooter-for no fault of his!?
The car driver, for no fault of his & even after, showing presence of mind, had to suffer an FIR & attendant many hardships, with the police authorities, insurance people etc.
Whose fault it was?
Isn`t it the normal duty of the concerned, road maintenance/construction authorities, to raise the level of embedded manholes? Isn`t it a regular sight, which all of us, must be observing, wherever a road is resurfaced? Why this is not done? Why no responsibility is fixed? Is this proper, administration/ maintenance/ project management? What are the concerned authorities proud of?
Is it professionalism?
I leave this query to ponder over & draw the conclusion? Is the `Global nay smart city` to give these facilities[broken limbs & death], to its unfortunate citizens?
Another scenario which one sees on some roads in central Delhi is the performance of very young acrobats on the main heavy trafficked road junctions? Why can`t the Sports/ Social Services Deptt/some NGO`s, take care of these talented young people & provide them with minimum basic needs to survive & train them to be good acrobats, instead of becoming traffic hazards & endangering their lives& lives of others too ?What are the traffic policemen doing at that time? Why it can not be prevented/stopped.
Same is the story of young girls /boys, begging in the garb of car cleaners,Saturday alm-askers & others hawking various artifacts, books, magazines etc etc!
Potholes remaining unattended for long, absence of proper signages , poor geometry of roads, drunken, under-aged, ill equipped, ill-trained drivers, stray cows & bulls on the roads ,in operational [for many days] traffic lights, non strict enforcement of traffic rules, Influence-peddling, encroachment on roads & footpaths, improper barricading at work sites, are some of the other causes of accidents on roads.Sorry to observe, apathy of the concerned authorities, perhaps, is one of the main reason for all this chaos on metro-roads.
The list of apathy of some of the members of the concerned authorities is though very long?! They have authority, without accountability-A [sad] Case Study of irresponsive, irresponsible, governance which is becoming poorer & poorer, day by day?!
Every year, National Road Safety Week is celebrated as a ritual?! Big advertisements appear in various newspapers prescribing various ways to avoid accidents,Drunken driving is one of the reasons,mentioned therein.One fails to understand why the concerned authorities can not have no-nonsense approach in this area.I suggest a few measures–
Impose hefty fines on the offenders/traffic rules violaters
Driving licences should be suspended if the offence is repeated.
Vehicles be confiscated immediately instead of present long process.
No influence peddling.
Put persons of impeccable integrity & having values & ethics, in Traffic Police
Suitable system of awarding the right employees/punishing the recalcitrants be invoked.
Nominate persons who do good jobs for Giraffe Heroes commendations.Details at www.giraffe.org/global/india
Help of civil society be sought.
Besides,there are some other educative measures,which,I will deal with, in another article
The urgent need is GOOD GOVERNANCE, which is in the INTEREST OF ALL, INCLUDING ALL THOSE, WHO GOVERN
Director,Giraffe Heroes India
Senior Fellow,Institute of Social Sciences,New Delhi www.issin.org