120 deaths in 887 accidents on Kashmir roads this year
In October last, a 20-year-old youth was killed after a vehicle hit him from behind. His name was Haziq Muhammad Bhat from Sanat Nagar. That year, 6469 such road accidents took place across J&K, killing 990 and injuring 8681.
Such accidents continue to take place on roads across the state, killing and wounding people. The chronology and the figures are chilling.
In 2011, as many as 6644 accidents took place killing 1121 people and wounding 9994. In 2012, 6709 mishaps were reported in which 1165 people died and 9755 were injured.
This year, up to June, 2820 accidents have been reported, with at least 429 dying and 3993 sustaining injuries.
In Kashmir region alone, 887 accidents have been reported so far this year in which 120 people have died and 1301 injured.
In Jammu, 1933 accidents, 309 deaths and 2692 injuries have been reported so far.
One of the main reasons for growing accidents in J&K is increase in vehicles and less road length.
In Kashmir, for example, the number of total registered vehicles up to March this year has been 442592.
The number in the entire J&K is 1133077 excluding the floating traffic in the form of vehicles of armed forces and tourists.
So far, 4271 buses, 7172 Mini Buses, 34759 Trucks, 26856 Taxis, 27902 three-wheelers, 148020 cars, 5227 Jeeps, 173390 two-wheelers and 14995 other vehicles have been registered.
Total number of commercial vehicles is 100960 while the number of non-commercial stands at 341632.
In Jammu division, a total number of 690485 vehicles have been registered so far.
According to an estimate of Traffic Police Department, the number of vehicles belonging to armed forces is more than 50,000.
Also, the number of outside-state vehicles plying on roads across J&K figures at 50,000.
According to Traffic Police, the density of vehicles has increased from 2.7 vehicles per kilometer in 1974-75 to about 38 vehicles per kilometer at present.
“As against 7315 kilometers of road length recorded in 1974-75, about 29,694 kilometers (up to March 2012) stand maintained which indicate only about four fold increase of the road length over past about 39 years,” an official document reads.
And due to shortage of manpower, the Traffic Police have maintained, they were facing “enormous difficulties” in managing the traffic.
“The existing strength of Traffic Police does not correspond with the vehicular population which has shown overwhelming increase especially during the past 10 years,” the document reads.
During the last 10 years, the number of vehicles has increased by 57 times.
“A blue cop who would look after about 36 vehicles in 1982 is now required to manage about 1000 vehicles daily which is a difficult and very challenging task,” the Department has observed.
Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Muneer Ahmad Khan said there has been a seven-fold increase of vehicles in the state over the past five years.
“By and large, traffic concerns are now growing among people,” he said.
“But the increasing number of accidents is a big concern for us.”
Khan said the department has initiated few surveys to study how the accidents could be tackled.
“Roads indeed are limited,” the IGP said. “Also the number of vehicles needs to be rationalized.”