BHUBANESWAR: Even as Odisha Government claims that strict enforcement of the traffic norms has brought down the number of accidents and deaths in the State, the Supreme Court Committee (SCC) on Road Safety has pulled up the authorities for failing to put required measures in place to reduce fatalities.
In a recent missive to Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, the panel expressed its displeasure as the State could not prepare District Integrated Plans for 2019-20 on time and directed to ensure that the plans for 2020-21 is implemented from April 1.
Pointing out that the State has not complied with the directions regarding highway patrol, the committee directed to take immediate steps to empower police officers on patrolling duty on the five selected stretches, Bhubaneswar-Puri, Sambalpur-Sohela, Manguli-Sambalour, Jaleswar-Ichhapuram and Sambalpur-Rourkela, to enforce traffic laws and take preventive measures. The SCC has directed to improve uncontrolled junctions that report maximum accidents. District Road Safety Committees (DRSCs) have also been asked to analyse the accidents and fatality data and prepare a strategy which should include location specific enforcement, engineering and emergency care measures. The State has identified 435 black spots, of which 250 pertain to NHAI and 47 to Works department, besides 193 vulnerable road segments on the basis of in-house audit. Though the Government had assured to complete short term measures by end of March, the committee has asked for long term measures as per recommendations and provisions.
Stating that it is obligatory for the State to prepare a scheme under section 135 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the panel has directed to frame a scheme to provide in-depth study of causes and analysis of accidents and set up traffic aid posts along highways. If considered necessary by the Government, such a scheme may be framed by it with the assistance of reputed research institute(s) having domain expertise. A copy of the scheme notified by the State should be submitted to the committee by July 31.
While of 130 vulnerable bridges, 45 have been reconstructed and 16 repaired, the authorities have been instructed to reconstruct remaining 69 bridges and repair 26 others within three years. However, work on all 329 bridges on NH requiring widening, repairs and rehabilitation will be completed by March, 2022.
Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said accidents and deaths came down to 3,563 and 1,541 during September to December, 2019 compared to 3,810 and 1,856 in the corresponding period of 2018 due to strict enforcement of traffic rules. “We have decided to put all 193 vulnerable spots on highways under CCTV surveillance and intensify highway patrolling to keep a tab on over-speeding,” he added.