Odisha Police to step up highway patrolling as fatalities rise
According to the monthly performance report of highway patrol teams, only 866 cases of traffic rule violations have been detected by the 36 patrol teams during March.
Published: 13th June 2022 07:38 AM | Last Updated: 13th June 2022 07:38 AM | A+A A-
BHUBANESWAR: Perturbed over unorganised patrolling, the State government has asked the Crime Branch of police to step up highway patrolling on the selected stretches of national highways, which have been recording maximum road fatalities.
The highway patrolling was launched on 36 mini stretches on Bhubaneswar-Puri (60 km), Sambalpur-Sohela (72 km), Manguli-Sambalpur (265 km), Jaleswar-Icchapuram (440 km) and Sambalpur-Rourkela (130) highways in February last year.
According to the monthly performance report of highway patrol teams, only 866 cases of traffic rule violations have been detected by the 36 patrol teams during March, which indicate the poor performance of the teams. It has been observed that 20 teams have not detected even a single case of traffic rule violation in the entire month and six patrol teams have detected single digit cases of traffic rule violation during the month.
Asking the Adl DGP (Crime Branch) to intensify patrolling, Principal Secretary of Transport department Bishnupada Sethi said all the selected stretches are vulnerable. The low rate of detection of violations indicate that the highway patrol teams are not functioning properly, he said.
The rollout of highway patrolling notwithstanding, statistics revealed the road fatalities rose by 3.3 per cent during 2021 as compared to 2020 on these stretches though the target was to reduce it by over 50 per cent.
Performance of highway patrol teams was discussed in the review meeting on road safety held recently where Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra urged DG of Police to take steps to enhance the performance of highway patrol teams.
As decided at the review by the Chief Secretary, Sethi said, steps need to be taken for intensifying enforcement through the highway patrol teams. The equipment available with the patrol teams like speed laser guns and breath analysers must be used properly for detection of traffic rule violations.
"The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety has expressed concern over the high number of road fatalities in Odisha. Several steps have been taken and the enforcement needs to be strengthened for reduction of accidents and fatalities," he added.
The State government has already accorded the power to special police officers (SPOs) deployed on highways to impose penalties on traffic rule violators. SPOs of and above the rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) deployed for highway patrolling on national highways can impose fines for safety rule violations like drunken driving, non-wearing of helmet and seat belt and the use of mobile phone while driving.