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Technological advancements changing transport sector in J&K

By Irfan Ganai

Every year killer roads devour thousands of lives in Jammu and Kashmir. Sharp curves, zigzag roads, treacherous passes, and high altitude motorways coupled with rash driving have always been a recipe for disaster.

Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has earned the sobriquet of `Killer Avenue’ given the number of accidents and deaths every year. The roads in Chenab valley have become death traps with thousands of people losing lives every year. Figures reveal that road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir claimed 1006 lives in 2018, while more than 7,000 people were injured.

Now it seems that the UT administration is finally waking up to this crisis. As per reports the government has decided to change the paradigm and make roads safer and secure for travel. From establishing the Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) to creating a Road Accident Victim Fund to replacing over 15-year-old commercial buses, the government has gone into an overdrive to ensure road safety and minimize mishaps in Jammu and Kashmir.

Not only this but off late, the Transport Department has done something that it was averse to, i.e. own and up use technology. The Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) has been made functional in the Office of Transport Commissioner, Rail Head Jammu.

Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) is an automated software-based solution for road-accident data which has been developed by National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), J&K, in accordance with the standardized format of the Indian Road Congress (IRC).

An android-based mobile application connected to a back-end analysis dashboard which is a Web-Based MIS and a data server for storage which will facilitate complete end-to-end accident data management.

Another transport technology compliance has been in the shape of RADMS. RADMS is a Geographical Information System (GIS) solution for identification of black spots, wrong driving practices, road infrastructure, vehicular defects, road types, damage to property, overloading issues, driver issues, and other factors causing or related to road accidents. This system also facilitates for plotting of accident data on digital maps enabling in-depth spatial analysis. RADAMS Control Room at Jammu has been made functional in February 2020.

NIELIT imparted training to 22 master trainers from Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Kishtwar, and Traffic Police. Nominations of master trainers have been sought from the Kashmir division. However, training could not be started due to COVID-19 and restrictions imposed by the administration.

Once the training is completed, first-hand data will be fed by the local police officials of concerned Police Station, RTOs, and ARTOs. This data will automatically get uploaded on to the back-end server, whereby it will be analyzed by trained Junior System Engineer deputed on the job at RADMS Control Room.

In order to provide training to departmental administrations and police administrations, an audio-video programme has been developed for smooth recording and uploading of road accident data. Moreover, the development of the offline mode of recording road accident data has been added for areas lacking internet facilities. This will be helpful in recording offline data to be uploaded on the availability of internet signals at their workplace.

Not only this, but the government has also notified Road Accident Victim Fund Rules, 2019 for providing immediate succor to the dependents of the persons killed and injured in road accidents. These rules shall also be applicable to hit and run cases. In addition to the passenger victims, these rules shall be applicable to road users and pedestrians also.

Under the rules, Rs one lakh cash assistance would be granted to the kin of a person killed in a road accident. Besides, Rs 75000 would be granted in case of permanent disability, Rs 50000 in case of grievous injuries and Rs 10000 in case of a minor injury.

The government has also decided to phase-out 15-year-old commercial buses and announced a subsidy scheme for poor transporters. As per the scheme, a subsidy amount of Rs five lakh per bus shall be provided to the transporters for introducing new eco friendly fuel-efficient buses. A provision of Rs. 50.00 Crore has been earmarked in the 2020-21 budget.

It certainly seems like a whiff of fresh air that the J&K Government has taken these steps to modernize and make safer UT’s road safety and road safety management system. If implemented properly it will not only reduce the traffic woes on the road but also make road travel much more safer and save thousand of lives every year.