Mowing Down

EditorialIn a shocking incident, a speedy truck (tipper) mowed down 52 cattle including sheep and goats at Nowgam crossing in the early hours of morning. The driver of the speeding truck managed to flee the spot leaving behind 30 dead cattle and 22 injured. The bakerwals (cattle rearing people) suffered losses of around 8 lakh rupees.

With the onset of militancy almost everymen in uniform at state government’s disposal was trained to fight the armed men leaving almost nobody to man the roads. Kashmir is perhaps the only place in world where one can see traffic police men carrying AK 47 assault rifles to manage the traffic. With insurgency on everybody’s mind managing day to day affairs like traffic took a back seat. While state government recruited thousands of youth in police traffic, police was left in lurch of staff. Thus, unmanned roads full of untrained drivers have became a common site in Kashmir. There is nobody to stop these irritant drivers who rule roads across Kashmir after dark. The understaffed traffic police fails to rein in on these rouge drivers who have made life of common men miserable after dark.

With no proper system in place to check the credentials of these drivers who rule the roads it has become extremely dangerous for people to use roads after dark.

In last two decades the number of road deaths has gone up manifolds because of faulty and corrupt licensing system. Youngsters with no formal training to drive a heavy vehicle manage to get a driving license by bribing the issuing authorities. These people ply on streets like they own them.

In last twenty years the percentage of unemployed youth has reached an alarming level in Kashmir. It saw a surge in youngsters taking driving as profession.  These youngsters who usually take driving to fill their bellies care less for law or human lives drive carelessly on narrow roads. On an average five major accidents are reported form two main districts i.e. Islamabad and Srinagar alone on daily basis involving young inexperienced drivers. But without any proper system to check the credentials of drivers these deaths go unpunished in most of the cases. Kashmir needs strict laws for such road rages. It is the need of the hour to have well trained traffic police officials who rather than siding with the unruly drivers, will bring them to justice for doing berserk on public roads. But in a place like Kashmir where fighting militancy is on state’s priority list deaths caused by road rage and rash driving concerns none. Hope they will wake up to the fact that not even animals are safe now on Kashmir’s roads.

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