Nepal | July 08, 2020

EDITORIAL: Safer roads

The Himalayan Times
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Most accidents take place because the roads are very narrow and in a dilapidated condition sorely lacking maintenance

Traffic accidents in the highways and roads have become common in which many people lose their lives while others are maimed. Since the terrains are rugged they are dangerous to commute in as a result of which many vehicles meet with accidents in the tortuous roads and highways. At least three persons were killed in a tragic accident that took place Sunday and 20 others were injured on a bus that was going towards Kharhare from Kathmandu. The mishap took place in Bhakare of Nulkantha Municipality in Dhading. The injured are being treated in various health facilities in Dhadingbesi. The rescue efforts were hampered as the accident took place at night. There were around 30 persons who were travelling in the ill-fated bus which plunged 200 meters below the road.

Most of the accidents take place because the roads are very narrow and in a dilapidated condition sorely lacking maintenance. They often are also not blacktopped. The vehicles plying on such roads are, therefore, prone to accidents. Hundreds of people die every year from the traffic accidents and little is being done to make commuting on vehicles safer. Moreover, the accidents also take place because of overcrowding. The police often look the other way even when they see that the vehicles are carrying more passengers than they are supposed to inviting disasters on the country’s roads. Although old vehicles are supposed to stay away from the roads we still see them operating with impunity. The vehicles should be roadworthy and under no condition be allowed to operate in the roads and highways.

Another reason for major accidents is due to human error such as speeding even on dangerous roads. The drivers often are found driving under the influence of alcohol which is not permitted. There should be patrols on the highways to apprehend such drivers. Sadly this is not the case. Meanwhile, since rescue teams take a long time to reach the site of accidents, such teams should be on the standby in case of accidents at various locations on the roads and highways. They should be trained to provide first aid in case of emergencies when the accident victims are being taken to the nearest health facilities. If this was done then it would be possible to save the lives of many commuters as is happening now with very little measures being taken to avert deaths and injuries. As bus accidents are inevitable we should do our outmost to reduce them which is indeed possible if the safety measures are taken in order to avoid them. If things continue as is happening now then travelling in buses would continue to be risky. Overtaking in the narrow roads should be discouraged. It would help if the drivers of the buses were imparted the importance of driving safely. For this, courses could be conducted targeting the drivers about following the traffic rules strictly. Those who violate the driving code should not be spared, and, if necessary, their licenses should be seized. Only then will it be possible to reduce the number of traffic accidents that so far seem to be occurring frequently calling for immediate action from all the stakeholders.


Role of mediation

Local level governments – rural or urban municipalities – have a great role to play for the development of physical infrastructure, including hydropower projects, which will help boost the local economy. Most of the hydropower projects under construction are located in rural areas where the people’s representatives have already been elected or are on the process of being elected in the second phase of the election. The government and the private sector have invested huge amounts of money for hydropower projects. But the project developers face countless hurdles from the local communities seeking fulfillment of their local level demands.

With the election of the local level, the project affected people and the project developers can resolve whatever the problems that they may have under a mediation of the elected representatives who have also vowed to make good use of their office for timely completion of all development projects. Investors will be attracted toward rural or urban municipalities which create an investment-friendly environment and discourage the communities from creating unnecessary disturbances and undue pressure. The local level representatives can act as arbitrators between the conflicting parties whenever any dispute arise over the sharing of natural resources.


A version of this article appears in print on May 30, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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