SRINAGAR, February 23: Former finance minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari has expressed deep shock and grief over the loss of precious lives in Kathua road accident and called for urgent measures by the Lieutenant Governor led administration to curb such mishaps which have reached to an alarming proportion in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement issued here, Bukhari extended solidarity with the bereaved families of nine deceased including women and children and prayed for an early recovery of the five passengers who sustained injuries in the collision in Kathua district
Referring to media reports which claim that around 1000 persons have lost their lives in 5800 accidents in Jammu and Kashmir last year alone, the former finance minister termed the figures extremely disturbing.
“The official statistics have revealed that at least 9,126 persons have died and 75,616 injured in 54,742 road mishaps between 2010 and 2018 across J&K. How unfortunate is that J&K has been ranked second in India vis-à-vis road accidents with an average of over 900 deaths every year,” he questioned.
Bukhari said that the state authorities have miserably failed to curb majority of road accidents which took place due to rash driving, negligence of drivers and bad condition of roads, especially in hilly and mountainous districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that all the major provisions of the road safety policy have been either overlooked or no sincere efforts have been made to implement them in letter and spirit.
“It is highly unfortunate that even after specific recommendations put forth by the experts after extensive research conducted on such tragedies across the country, the successive governments have sofar failed to take measures to minimize loss of life especially in the regions with hilly terrains in Jammu and Kashmir,” the former finance minister observed.
He demanded that all existing and new roads be equipped with standard traffic control features like signs, markings, crash barriers, delineators, etc, besides initiatives should be taken to upgrade major roads in Jammu and Kashmir and classify important roads as state highways.
Expressing commiseration with the families who lost their near and dear ones in the current road mishap, Bukhari prayed for the eternal peace to their souls and endurance for their families to face this difficult time and bear their irreparable loss with courage. “The government should immediately disburse ex gratia relief to the bereaved families and arrange the best of treatment for the injured in this mishap,” he demanded.