THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In what could be termed as a dangerous trend, the number of road accidents in the state has been staggeringly increasing over the years. As per the available data, the total number of accidents registered in 2015 was 39,014, the highest in seven years. In 2013 and 2014, around 35,215 and 36,282 accidents were reported in the state. As many as 4,196 people lost their lives in accidents in 2015, while 4,049 perished in 2014. The data till January this year has revealed that as many 420 people lost their lives in around 3,688 accidents.
The simmering dischord between the Kerala Police and Kerala Road Safety Authority over allocation of funds has apparently hampered effective execution of government measures to curb accidents in the state.
State Police Chief T P Senkumar had the other day filed a complaint against Transport Commissioner Tomin J Thackankary stating that non-receipt of road safety funds had led to the rise in number of accidents.
In his complaint, Senkumar blamed the Kerala Road Safety Authority for not granting the annual dues for taking up the awareness initiatives. According to Senkumar, the main reason for the rise in the number of accidents was the lack of funds in conducting awareness programmes for the public.
“We admit that the number of accidents has risen in the last few years. Last year, we had carried out a few awareness programmes, including our flagship programme ‘Subhayatra’ for the public. But, it was stalled later owing to the shortage of funds. We have not yet received the fund and our efforts to launch more awareness campaigns went in vain. However, we are trying our maximum to bring down the number of accidents,” Senkumar told ‘Express’.
The Kerala Road Safety Authority releases funds to all government departments every year to make the roads in the state safe. But, it is for the first time that the board had not given the funds to a key department. Though Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala assured the funds will be released after convening a meeting with the stakeholders, it has not been materilaised. Tomin J Thachankary had earlier said that the authority had released funds to the tune of `6 crore and the remaining was not released owing to the reluctance of the Police Department in furnishing the utilisation of funds so far.
Third in the List
Kerala is the third highest in the country in terms of road accidents. Experts point out that unscientific road building and ineffective traffic control system in the state have kept the number soaring.