GUWAHATI, March 31 – Holding the State Government responsible for the unusual spurt in road accidents, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that it was precisely due to the lack of intervention from the authorities concerned that the State’s roads, particularly highways, had become virtual killing fields.
Referring to the death of Press Adviser to Chief Minister, Debo Kumar Bora, who was killed in a road mishap near Kaziranga in the wee hours today, Prof Dutta said that the Chief Minister himself – in his capacity as Home Minister – was equally responsible as several of the authorities including the Transport Minister, Chief Secretary and Director General of Police for the people killed in road accidents.
“It is baffling how could all these authorities continue to ignore such a life-and-death issue for years. Every day about seven people are dying in accidents but no intervention has come to ensure some semblance of order on the roads, Prof Dutta said.
Prof Dutta said that now leaders including the Chief Minister were offering their condolences to Bora’s family and the Congress had even called off poll campaign for a day. “But all this amounts to a show, given that an issue of vital public interest like road accidents is continuously ignored by these authorities including the opposition political parties,” he said.
Pointing out that all laws, rules and norms concerning roads and vehicles were being regularly flouted by drivers and vehicle owners which had been at the root of the chaos on the roads, Prof Dutta said that the supposed enforcing agencies including the police and the Transport Department invariably chose to turn a blind eye to the developments.
“The situation concerning road accidents is part of the State’s law and order which is not just in a shambles but rather has totally collapsed. How can the Chief Minister drumbeat an improving law and order when road accidents are claiming thousands of lives every year?” he questioned, adding that the Chief Minister as the head of the police forces owed an explanation to the people.
Prof Dutta said that the worsening scenario strongly indicated that the Government and its machinery had made a total surrender before the transport lobby, which also comprised leaders and office-bearers of most political parties.
“It is an open secret that the police is too busy collecting goonda taxes from commercial vehicles to be able to spare time to oversee the situation on the road. Forget about other places, this is happening right in front of the Chief Minister’s official residence at Koinadhora hills near Khanapara. The only plausible reason why the Government is allowing every violation of laws and norms is that it gets a share from the booty,” he said.
Castigating the Opposition, Prof Dutta said that the State Assembly never witnessed any serious discussion on the scourge of road accidents due to the apathy of the opposition parties.