Nepal | May 25, 2019

Government fails to curb increasing road fatalities

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, August 26

Road accident stands as a major killer in Nepal. On an average, 1,700 people are killed and thousands injured in road accidents every year. On the heels of a string of accidents, concerns have grown about road safety in Nepal.

Despite series of fatalities, the government has not been able to dismantle the transport syndicate and upgrade poor road infrastructure, which many studies show are major causes of accidents.

A figure maintained by Nepal Police shows that at least 277 people lost their lives to road accidents as of yesterday with August 15 Kavre bus mishap being the deadliest one that killed 31 people and today’s accident on the Narayanghat-Mugling stretch the second-deadliest so far this fiscal.

The higher-up authorities in the government are just doing nothing except paying lip-service by issuing verbal directives to subordinate bodies to ‘curb road accidents’.

The country witnessed an average of 27 accidents and five deaths every day in road accidents in the fiscal 2015/16, according to statistics. As many as 2,006 people died in road accidents in 2015/16 against 2,004 in the fiscal 2014/15.

In the last fiscal, driver’s negligence caused 7,432 road accidents followed by 1,273 due to speeding, 321 due to drink driving, 321 due to recklessness of passengers, and 226 while overtaking vehicles.

With the festive season just around the corner, more road accidents can be expected due to increased pressure of vehicles and passengers on the national highways, warned DIG Madhav Prasad Joshi, NP spokesperson.

“Nepal Police, as a law enforcement agency, is doing its best to bolster road safety. After the recent directives issued by the prime minister and the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, we have been working proactively to initiate action against overloaded vehicles and erring drivers.

Law enforcement officers will do more to curb accidents during the festive season when more road accidents take place,” he told The Himalayan Times.

According to statistics by the Ministry of Health last year, road accident (7 per cent) is the fourth leading cause of death after infectious diseases, child and maternal mortality (42 per cent), cardiovascular diseases (25 per cent) and cancer (11 per cent) in Nepal.

Similarly, respiratory diseases, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases account for 5 per cent, 2 per cent and 8 per cent deaths in the country, respectively.

Poor visibility at blind corners, inadequate safety barriers, unscientific location of passing bays, random roadside parking, poor condition of roads, lack of awareness of traffic rules, poor road engineering, among others, are also equally responsible for accidents, said police.

Prez, PM express sorrow

KATHMANDU: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal have expressed deep sadness over the death and injury of scores of people in the road accident that occurred in Narayanghat-Mugling stretch in the wee hours on Friday.

“President Bhandari has extended her sincere and heartfelt condolences to the grieving family, while wishing for speedy recovery of the injured.

She also hoped for serious and timely attention of the concerned authorities towards preventing such incidents in future,” stated a press release issued by the Office of the President.

In a separate press release, Prime Minister Dahal said he was saddened by the news of the accident that took many lives.

“PM Dahal has condoled the death of people in the accident and directed the concerned authorities to carry out rescue works and fully engage in medical treatment of the injured,” said the release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.

A version of this article appears in print on August 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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