Odisha blames NHAI as zero fatality week bleeds
Stating that loss of human lives should not be compromised due to negligence, the principal secretary asked the NHAI to initiate criminal cases against those responsible.
BHUBANESWAR: Failing to prevent deaths during the zero fatality week, the Odisha government has blamed National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for being insensitive and not performing duty in clearing parked vehicles on NHs.Ahead of the zero fatality week (April 1 to 7), the state government issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) and specified responsibilities for all stakeholders, including the NHAI to achieve the target.
However, a spate of accidents causing the death of more than 10 persons has been reported from various parts of the state since the beginning of the week and made it an exercise in futility. This has prompted the state government to attribute it to non-cooperation and negligence on the part of some of the stakeholders.
In a letter to the NHAI chief general manager, and principal secretary of the Commerce and Transport Department Usha Padhee said as reported by the RTOs, many accidents during the week have occurred due to parking of accidents and breakdown vehicles on national highways.
On April 1, two accidents occurred in Kenojhar district due to parked vehicles on road. Though Keonjhar RTO found five damaged trucks on the ghat stretch of Kanjipani on Wednesday and intimated the NHAI patrol team, no action was taken to shift the breakdown vehicles, she stated. Similarly, two persons died in an accident after their vehicle hit a parked truck near Gokaneswar temple in Jarka on Wednesday.
Even as the NHAI has roped in private agencies for patrol on NHs and removal of accident and breakdown vehicles as well as dead animals from the road, the teams are insensitive and not performing their duty sincerely leading to fatal accidents.
Stating that loss of human lives should not be compromised due to negligence, the principal secretary asked the NHAI to initiate criminal cases against those responsible. Padhee also directed the NHAI CGM to instruct project directors of various stretches of roads to ensure regular patrolling is conducted and breakdown/accident vehicles are removed from the road immediately.