TODAY -

Improved highways perilous for traffic rule resisters
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 19, 2023 -



IT is but natural that in sync with the increasing number of vehicles compared to the static width of the roads, the problem of traffic congestions would multiply in the urban areas whereas fatal accidents are likely to occur regularly along the national, state and inter-district highways due to expansion and smooth condition of these roadways.

With exception of technical snags, number of accidents in the hills would be comparatively lesser than in the plains and along the national highways as could be comprehended from frequent incidents of hit-and-run cases and head-on collisions caused by over speeding or reckless driving.

As roads are the arteries of development, successive governments have been giving top priority to building them at faster pace.

While construction of super highways is being accorded importance in mainland parts of the country, the present government is focusing on upgrading of the national highway stretches in the north-eastern states, with many of them completed or nearing completion, to bring trade and access parity in the region.

Unlike the past governments when the prime agenda seemed to be drawing borders to keep hostile neighbours at bay, the Modi-led establishment has been working towards inclusion of the northeast through speedier development of the highways and funding spruce-up of the inter-state and inter-district roads.

In fact, reports placed in the public domain some 2-3 years back by both construction and news agencies had stated that in comparison with the pace of highway constructions earlier at a kilometre per day, the present regime has been building 37 kilometres a day through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.

In Manipur's context, till few years back, the national highways used to be dotted with potholes and the complaints mainly centred on damages caused to vehicles in trying to dodge the craters and bone-wrenching travel experience.

For a change, road projects that used to be extended for years in the state are now fully or 90 percent done much before the deadline.

In fact, figures of faster pace of road development projects are being put up for everyone to see on regular tracking websites hosted by other departments and not just the Union Ministry for Road, Transport and Highways.

However, compared to the notable improvement in the condition of the roads there are still significant number of motorists who seem unaware of the importance of following traffic rules and safe driving.

As such, Transport minister Khashim Vashum's advice to police and traffic control personnel, during the National Road Safety Week 2023 on Tuesday, to unsparingly deal with anyone found violating traffic and motor vehicle rules should be executed in the right earnest for any sort of leniency in taking action against the defaulters would only lead to spike in accident-related fatalities.

AS it is obvious that mere observance of road safety programmes wouldn't make much of a difference if the violators are let off with milder form of punishment, the law enforcement agencies should endeavour to reduce the number of fatalities associated with accidents through stringent enforcement of road safety norms failing which improvement of the roadways would be akin to enticing the drivers to test speed limit of high-end vehicles.



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