Ranchi: Road accidents have claimed quite a few lives in Jharkhand in recent times. Since May 1, at least 17 people have died in mishaps in the state. Even though the nationwide lockdown had initially led to a reduction in the number of road accidents and casualties, as fewer vehicles hit the streets, accidents have suddenly spiked after inter- and intra-state movement of stranded people was allowed by the government.
On Tuesday, six people, including five of a family, died in two separate road mishaps in Dhanbad and Ramgarh. On Monday, 38 out of 77 persons travelling on a bus sustained injuries after the vehicle turned turtle on Ranchi-Gola Road. On May 21 and 22, six people, including three bikers and a woman, died in road accidents in Giridih and Hazaribag districts, respectively. A fortnight ago, three migrants travelling from Jamshedpur to Uttar Pradesh died after the truck met with an accident in Ramgarh’s Chuttupalu Valley on NH-33. Between last week of April and first week of May, two policemen died in road accidents in Ranchi and Ramgarh.
Rishab Anand, a road safety activist, said the recent incidents of road accidents are a result of desperation and callousness. He said, “Congestion-free roads are like a trap. The vehicles are running at extremely high speed these days in comparison to the time before imposition of lockdown.”
Overworked drivers, over-crowding on vehicles and driving under the influence of drugs and liquor could be the other reasons. He said, “Moreover, lack of proper knowledge about a particular area, its road and geography may be another reason. Many drivers from other states are ferrying people and they might not be aware of the real nature of roads in this state.”
Enforcement of road safety has taken a back seat, even though large number of policemen are on the roads. Anand said, “We don’t even have the infrastructure like highway interceptors, speed guns to control the menace of over-speeding.”
Jharkhand police ADG (operations) and spokesperson M L Meena said, “The rise in accidents is due to the increase in movement of vehicles after partial relaxations were allowed during lockdown 4.0. We have taken cognizance of the problem and issued instructions to increase highway patrolling as a preventive measure.”