Road mishaps on rise in Jharsugada
With transport and traffic police personnel choosing to look the other way, overloaded mini buses, trekkers and auto-rickshaws go unchecked, especially in rural areas, and accidents are on the rise in the district.
According to district police, as many as 84 people lost their lives and 72 received grevious injuries in a total 278 road accidents occurred in 2017 while 66 persons were killed and 68 injured in 147 accidents reported till May-end this year in the district.
Despite clear directions banning overloading in passenger vehicles issued by the Government, traffic police have failed to take strict measures against the violators.
Trekkers having eight-seat capacity are carrying 16 to 18 passengers. Interestingly, drivers do not start the engine until he doesn’t load this number of passengers, said a senior passenger.
Extra passengers are forced to hang on the back stairs of the trekkers or sit on the roof. “There is shortage of vehicles for which overloading occurs,” pointed out Youth Congress leader Robin Singh.
The passenger vehicle operators, particularly in rural areas, had also resorted to various tactics in creating more space than the seating capacity in the vehicles to generate extra income, bypassing the risk to lives of passengers.
Such overloaded vehicles are plying on Jharsugada to Kulabira, Laikera, Kirimira and Lakhanpur block areas. RTO and traffic police personnel are seen standing on roads as mute spectators only, said Jyotiranjan Patel, a local resident. He demanded that senior officers take note of the situation and check overloading at the earliest.
When contacted, Regional Transport Officer (RTO) DK Singh said that few Commander vehicles are commuting daily to its destinations like Sundargarh and Dhutra and other rural areas. Though penalties are being collected from vehicles for taking passengers in unsafe conditions, yet the problem has not yet been sorted out, admitted the RTO.
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